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Minn. Man Accused In Boy’s Death Ruled Mentally Ill

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Randel, Richardson, child, drowning, mentally ill

Randel Richardson. (credit: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) – There was an important ruling Tuesday in the case of a Twin Cities dad accused of killing his 6-month-old son.

Police say Randel Richardson drowned his boy, Rowan, in a laundry tub at their home in Eden Prairie last July.

Investigators say Richardson then told them he did it on purpose.

On Tuesday, court-appointed psychologist Dr. Larry Panciera, determined that Richardson either didn’t know what he was doing when he killed his son, or didn’t know it was wrong.

Police say Richardson killed his son when he was at home on leave from his job at Cargill, because of depression.

Richardson’s attorney, Tony Edwards, said that he is satisfied and encouraged by Dr. Panciera’s report.

“When you look at Randy Richardson you see a 36-year-old man with no criminal history. He married his high school sweetheart 16 years ago and they have three kids together. Nothing in his past or his history of raising his children would lead you to believe he could commit a crime like this,” said Edwards.

Edwards, like Dr. Panciera, believes the only explanation is that Richardson was mentally ill when he killed his son. He believes it stems even farther than depression in that Richardson was having dillusions, and seeing and hearing things that weren’t real.

“What Mr. Richardson is now faced with, now that he is receiving treatment and feeling more like himself, is that he is in jail and he has been charged with the murder of his son. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than that,” said Edwards.

Edwards says that Richardson’s wife has been at all of his court hearings, and on Tuesday, friends and neighbors also showed up. They sat directly behind Richardson as the judge read the findings by Dr. Panciera.

“I think seeing that support from his family, neighbors and co-workers affirmed the belief that what they are doing is the right thing. He deserves this and I think it’s very humbling for Randy,” said Edwards.

The county attorney’s office now has one week to make a motion to have another mental health evaluation done on Richardson.

If they agree with Dr. Panciera’s evaluation, then Richardson will likely go through mental health court.

If they don’t agree, the case could go to trial.

Richardson’s next court appearance is March 7.

WCCO-TV’s John Lauritsen Reports

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