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Gerald Richardson sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter

Gerald Richardson

Gerald Richardson

KINGMAN – Having been found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of 31-year-old Jessica Mae Orozco in October 2018, Golden Valley resident Gerald Richardson was sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison Thursday, July 11.

Richardson, 58, told detectives he was asleep on his couch when Orozco arrived to bring a child home from a birthday party. He wasn’t expecting anyone and believed the person trying to enter his residence through the front door was an intruder.

He fired one shot from a handgun that struck Orozco, who was transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Richardson’s argument that he was defending himself and his home from a potential burglar didn’t pass muster with the jury, which convicted him after about five hours of deliberations in June. However, according to his attorney Robin Puchek, one of the jurors wrote in a letter to the court that at least one member of the jury was “coerced” into handing down a guilty verdict.

Puchek argued that one mitigating factor the court should take into account when sentencing his client was the “claim of self-defense.” Another was mental health, as he said a letter from Richardson’s daughter spoke to mental health concerns such as depression and more. He also said a mitigating factor was Richardson’s lack of criminal history and his age.

Richardson spoke at his sentencing and said he was sorry to Orozco’s friends and family and that he had nothing against Orozco. He also said only about 50% of the case was even addressed.

Statements were given by Orozco’s friends and family, including her uncle, who raised her from the time she was about 7-years-old.

“Jessica was not only a niece but a daughter to me,” he said. “When I think of all the good times that we had, that’s all I have are the memories. I will miss her beyond any comprehension. For her to have been torn away from me and her friends in this way is awful, terrible. Trying to say sorry now is a little late.”

Prosecutor James Schoppmann asked the court to consider as an aggravating factor the harm suffered by the victim’s friends and family. He also said that in the state’s opinion, no mitigating factors should be found.

“This case is clearly a tragedy,” said Judge Derek Carlisle. “Obviously, the death of Jessica Orozco has had a very great negative impact on the community based on the statements that were made to me today. It appears that it’s not just her family but also her friends and peers who are suffering from the loss of Ms. Orozco.”

The judge did find the emotional harm suffered by Orozco’s friends and family as an aggravating factor. He found as mitigating factors Richardson’s lack of criminal history, age and remorsefulness. He then sentenced Richardson to the presumptive sentence of 10 1/2 years in prison.

Richardson will receive credit for the 238 days he’s already served in custody. Puchek also said he planned to file a motion to vacate judgment and sentencing.

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