Facebook Page Supports Robert Richardson
More than 200 people have joined the Facebook group rallying in support of Robert Richardson III, age 16, who is charged as an adult with the murder of his father.
A classmate of Robert Richardson III created a "Free Robert (Bob) Richardson III" Facebook page urging support for the Bel Air teen who is charged as an adult with first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of his father.
Police allege that the younger Richardson, 16, shot and killed his father, Robert Richardson Jr., at the family home on 800 block of Moores Mill Road in Bel Air, on Jan. 9. Richardson III was arrested a short time, admitted to the killing and told police where he had hidden his father's body, police said.
The Facebook page supporting Richardson III had 240 fans as of 1 p.m. Tuesday and included a recent post about supporting the teen at his Tuesday preliminary hearing, where he waived his right to the hearing.
Four women were at the hearing to show support because of the Facebook page, joining the Bel Air teen's sister and other friends of the family.
Hannah Siple, Richardson III's classmate at C. Milton Wright High School, started the Facebook page to show support for her friend.
The page contends that Richardson III was "driven to insanity" as a result of domestic abuse and that "friends and some family are coming forward with stories that they witnessed abuse, or unusual, unexplained marks, etc. Robert is innocent."
The four women who were prompted to attend Tuesday's hearing—Testerman, Robyn Eisner, Anne Burch and one other woman, all graduates of Fallston High School—spoke to reporters about the page and their support of Richardson III.
"Nobody has been there for this kid," Anne Burch said.
Burch said that while it may be a bit late, she and a number of others want to be there for the teen now "as mothers."
Burch, Eisner and Testerman said they believe Robertson III was abused. While Burch's children are older and she doesn't know the young man personally, she explained the issue of abuse is one that's close to her heart because her own mother is active in an anti-abuse organization.
Testerman said she and her daughter, now age 15, remember Richardson III from his elementary school days when he had long hair and appeared in need of new clothes.
"You could tell he was someone who could use a hug," Testerman said.
Eisner, who said her 14-year-old son's good friend is very close with Richardson III, said people would give the boy clothes because he was in need and said he was sometimes seen with bruises.
Eisner broke down in tears several times as she spoke about the young man.
Richardson III's older sister, Abigail Richardson, made a brief comment before saying she had been advised not to speak with the media.
"I support my brother until the day he's out," Abigail Richardson said, adding, "Even if it takes 80 years."
Some members of the Facebook group are trying to find a private attorney to represent the teen. He is currentlty being represented by a public defender.
The Facebook page has been a platform for some to express the sentiment that Richardson III was abused.
There had been 12 calls for police assistance to the Richardson home within the past year until the night of the shooting. However, none of those police calls related to domestic violence, according to Monica Worrell, public information officer with the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
Worrell said that several of those police calls were for reports that Richardson III had gone missing. He was quickly found in each instance and returned home, the police spokeswoman said.
"There was no indicator that he was afraid to come back to the home," Worrell said in a recent interview.
“Of course we’re going to explore all avenues to get to the truth,” Lambert said.