SEGUIN - A former Matador football star received a 15-year prison sentence Thursday afternoon from a jury that found him guilty of one count of aggravated robbery in a home invasion that occurred in May 2009.
Marcus B. Richardson, 22, had been indicted on two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated sexual assault. The offenses were alleged to have occurred on May 18, 2009 at a residence on Blanks Street in Seguin.
After hearing two days of testimony, the five-man, seven-woman jury began deliberations Wednesday afternoon and returned its verdict at mid-morning Thursday. Jurors found Richardson guilty of the aggravated robbery of the male occupant of the residence, but they acquitted Richardson on the accusation of aggravated robbery of the male victim's wife. They also acquitted Richardson of aggravated sexual assault of the woman.
Richardson was an all-state linebacker while playing for the Matadors, and he accepted a football scholarship from Oklahoma State University, one of several college programs that recruited him. However, he left OSU after a few months and enrolled at Texas Southern University in Houston. A shoulder injury reportedly cut short his time spent at Texas Southern.
Richardson came home to Seguin and resumed membership in a local gang called the "Rolling 60 Crips." Though he admitted being a member of the gang, Richardson claimed that he had not participated in the robbery and sexual assault at the residence on Blanks Street.
During their deliberations Thursday morning, jurors sent out four notes asking to hear re-readings of testimony delivered earlier in the trial by the two victims and one of Richardson's co-defendants. In response to the first three questions, the jury was brought back into the courtroom for the reading of testimony by the court reporter. In response to the fourth question, 25th District Judge Dwight Peschel sent jurors a written response telling them that the question was not specific enough to be answered.
Within about a half hour of receiving Peschel's note, the jury signaled having reached its verdict.
After the reading of the verdict convicting Richardson of aggravated robbery, Peschel gave jurors an early lunch break and scheduled the punishment phase of the trial to begin at noon. Richardson had opted before the trial began to have the jury set punishment in the event of a guilty verdict.
In opening statements on punishment, Assistant District Attorney Larry Bloomquist said the state would ask for a prison sentence of 60 to 80 years, and defense attorney Charles Jordan indicated he would ask jurors for a five-year probated sentence.
Bloomquist called three witnesses to the stand to testify on punishment. Two of the three were a pair of young men who claimed to have been robbed and assaulted by seven men who attacked them on Nov. 4, 2008 while the youths were walking along a street in the vicinity of Ball Elementary School. Both youths identified Richardson as among the seven who attacked them.
The state's third witness was Greg Martin, captain of security operations at the Guadalupe County Jail, who testified about Richardson's behavior while incarcerated awaiting trial.
Martin said Richardson was more of a nuisance than a bad inmate.
"We have had numerous moves because of problems with his cellmates," Martin said. "He's only had one major incident."
Regarding that incident, Martin testified that Richardson signed a form indicating that he was guilty of having assaulted another inmate.
Jordan called two witnesses during the punishment phase, the second one being Richardson's mother, Ella Davis.
"My focus is on Marcus," Davis said, testifying that she would provide support to assure her son's compliance with the conditions of probation.
Davis also spoke about Richardson's having left OSU after a few months on campus.
"He had issues with the coach," Davis said. "They wanted to redshirt him, and he didn't want to be redshirted."
Redshirting is the practice of having a player sit out a season in order to have an additional year of eligibility.
In closing arguments on punishment, Assistant District Attorney Bill Squires III said only five pounds of pressure on a gun's trigger would have made the trial about murder rather than aggravated robbery.
"Thank God, nobody died. Otherwise, we'd be trying a very different case," Squires told the jury.
Bloomquist urged jurors to hold Richardson accountable for his actions. "Don't let him get away with it. Do not let him walk away from this," Bloomquist said. "I believe that the appropriate sentence in this case is between 60 and 80 years in prison."
After approximately 90 minutes of deliberations, the jury indicated it had reached its verdict on punishment.
Peschel read the verdict calling for a 15-year prison sentence and then thanked and excused the jury. Before formally sentencing Richardson, Peschel gave the victim of the robbery an opportunity to make a victim impact statement, but the man declined.
With a finding of a deadly weapon having been used in the offense, Richardson will have to serve at least half the sentence calendar time before becoming eligible for parole. He also will be given credit for time served in county jail.