A Casper man will spend four to eight years in prison for assaulting a pregnant woman and strangulation of a household member as part of an unusual plea agreement discussed in Natrona County District Court on Monday.

But before Judge Kerri Johnson handed down the sentence to Erick Richardson -- the father of the victim's child -- the victim's sister read a prepared statement for her.

"Last year has been an emotional roller coaster," the victim's sister read.

"When I hear the slightest sounds I panic; I get sick to my stomach," she said. "For months, Mr. Richardson controlled every factor of my life. He wanted me isolated from everything and everyone I knew."

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Before the sister read the statement, Assistant District Attorney Blaine Nelson introduced another matter before the court.

Richardson has been accused in a separate case of felony stalking while he was in jail this summer by sending text messages to her and asking people to drive by her residence to see if she was there, according to court documents.

That violated a no-contact court order, Judge Kerri Johnson said.

The subsequent court actions involving the new stalking charge will further traumatize the victim, Nelson said.

So he and Public Defender Joseph Cole crafted a proposed sentence recommending a four- to eight-year prison term for the assault charge that would run concurrently -- at the same time -- with a potential sentence handed down by another judge for the conviction of Richardson in the stalking case.

"This avoids an additional trial," Nelson said.

Judge Johnson agreed to the recommended sentence, and told Richardson that this had some benefit for him because a separate conviction could have resulted in a longer sentence.

The judge in the other case will need to approve the agreement, but that won't affect the four- to eight-year sentence for the assault and strangulation convictions.

For her part, the woman who has a child by Richardson told the court in the prepared statement about the violence he inflicted on her.

One time, he came to her place of employment and asked for a ride. She refused and he threw her to the ground, she said. "That was the most terrifying moment yet."

The next morning, Richardson pounded on her window wanting to know if anyone was in bed with her, she said.

Richardson has failed to change, she said. "I have nightmares of him killing me."

Yet he apologizes for his actions to people, she said.

"It's going to take a very long time to fix the things he has broken in me," she said.

Judge Johnson asked Richardson if he wanted to say anything.

He turned to the victim and her family and said, "I just want to apologize to [her] and her mom," he said.

"I'm not about revenge," Richardson said. "I'm not mad at you."

After the sentencing hearing, the woman said she is doing as well as could be expected. "I have a phenomenal support system."

 

Children's Advocacy Project in Casper

connect2women Conference in Casper

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