County man pleads guilty to molestation; sentenced to 12 years

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace escorts Ron Richardson to the Warren County Courthouse Monday. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/13/01] A Warren County man who eluded authorities for seven years, was sentenced Monday afternoon to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting his daughter and step-granddaughter.

With his now 18 and 19-year-old victims sitting in the courtroom, Ron Richardson admitted responsibility and Warren County Circuit Court Judge Isadore Patrick sentenced the 58-year-old to six years in prison on each of two counts, specifying that the terms be served consecutively.

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The young women were tearful, but otherwise remained silent as Richardson was sentenced.

Had he not pleaded guilty, Richardson’s trial on the molestation charges was set to begin Tuesday.

“This has been very difficult for the families involved,” said Assistant District Attorney Mike Bonner who was handling the case. “This has been hanging over both of these young girls for years.”

Sheriff Martin Pace, who was a detective at the time, arrested Richardson on March 16, 1992, after receiving information that the man was molesting the children, then 9 and 10.

After being indicted by the grand jury four months after his arrest, Richardson was set to go to trial in November 1992, but he disappeared.

“The thought of this guy getting away with this crime was not acceptable, Pace said. “Losing him was not an option.”

Pace said he worked with the FBI and other agencies for seven years to find Richardson.

A break in the case came in April 1999 when Richardson was arrested in Flagstaff, Ariz., on a federal charge of using a false Social Security number.

Pace had entered the number Richardson was using into the National Crime Information Center computer after he fled, so when the fugitive was arrested Warren County authorities were notified. He was extradited in May 2000.

“I think the message is if you do something like this it will come back to you eventually,” Pace said.