ST. JOHNS — Accused killer Joshua Cade Richardson will appear at a settlement conference August 12 in the Apache County Superior Court.
As previously reported, Richardson is accused of first degree murder in the death of Terrilynn Collins (then 54) at the Collins’ family retreat in Concho Oct. 3, 2017. Richardson is also charged with burglary, two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of attemped armed robbery and attempted vehicle theft. He has pled not guilty.
Richardson, then 14, allegedly went to the Collins’ residence in 2017 and shot Collins in the face during a burglary. Collins died at the scene.
Richardson faces aggravated assault charges for allegedly putting Collins’ daughter and her roommate in “reasonable apprehension of physical injury” while using a “revolver handgun, fixed blade knife, and hockey stick,” according to a charging document dated January 4, 2018.
The attempted armed robbery concerns Collins’ daughter; the attempted vehicle theft concerns a second daughter. Richardson has been charged as an adult. He turns 17 next month. The Arizona Department of Public Safety handled the investigation.
A clean-shaven Richardson sat quietly in a mustard colored jail jump suit next to his attorney during the most recent hearing.
The case has been delayed as both sides continue to supplement their investigations and while Richardson went through a competancy evaluation. An offical found him competent to stand trial.
Defense counsel Cindy Castillo told The Independent that she received a call from Richardson’s mother about 3 a.m. the day after Richardson was taken into custody and immediately drove up. She arrived just in time to tell DPS, who had also just driven up from Phoenix, that her client had no comment.
An analysis of cell phones used by witnesses has also delyaed the case. Those phones are still in police custody. The analysis is “imperative to Joshua’s defense” wrote Castillo in a March 4 court filing. Specifically, there is “contradictory evidence” of events, including when Richardson arrived, when witnesses contacted Collins, when Collins’ husband was contacted and when 911 was called, Castillo wrote. That call may have been delayed by up to 45 minutes. The analysis could reveal if there was any “deleted information” from the phones, Castillo wrote in March. This is significant in light of the prosecutor’s statement in the charging document that Richardson was “acting alone or with one or more persons” in the burglary, which forms the basis of the felony murder charge.
But phone analysis costs money. Money that Richardson, 16, does not have. Castillo said that meta data analysis of a cell phone costs about $10,000; the court has authorized $2,500. Castillo said she understands the issue of limited court resources.
The August 12 settlement conference will include a “Donald” hearing, named for a supreme court case. The judge will explain to the defendant the range of penalties a conviction would carry, in the event a plea offer is made. In this case, there will be an out-of-county judge brought in for the conference. Richardson is being held at the Coconino County Jail (in the part of that facility for juveniles).