Name: Robin Renea Richardson
Murderers’ ages: One killer was 17 and nine months old while the other had just turned 18
Death: June 2, 1992, Bauxite, Arkansas
Robin was just 12-years-old when she was murdered during a robbery. She was about to turn 13 and was planning a birthday party. One early June day, Robin accompanied her mother to work at a grocery store so that she and her mom could plan the birthday party.
Robin never got to enjoy her 13th birthday because of the choices made by two young men. More information on the crime can be found here. Chad Kitchell, the killer who was 17 at the time, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole (LWOP). He had a re-sentencing hearing after Miller v. Alabama and was again sentenced to life in prison. Due to changes in Arkansas laws, he is now eligible for parole after 30 years. The murderer appealed his latest sentence and the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that he is entitled to a third sentencing hearing.
From our offender page
The resentencing trial was held on November 13-14, 2018. During the hearing Robin’s family testified about how the procedural history of the case had adversely impacted them. Robin’s sister Latrisha, who was 14 at the time of the murder, stated that she experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, and depression since the crime and that her conditions had improved until the killer’s sentence was vacated. After that, her problems grew worse. She explained that the LWOP sentence had allowed her to feel some comfort in that “justice was served and this was something that we can move on and heal from and just pick up the pieces and live.” Robin’s father Richard testified that he had felt satisfaction knowing that the murderer had LWOP. He further explained that “reliving it just like it just happened again” due to SCOTUS’s ruling.
During closing arguments, prosecutors referred to the victim’s testimony. “This family has been safe and secure in the knowledge that [Kitchell] was life without parole. Now, the law’s changed and they’re now faced with a 30-year sentence being the maximum he can get.” Prosecutors explained that the toll the process had taken on Robin’s family was “grueling” and that it was “almost cruel what they have to do to seek justice to make sure that their child did not lose her life in vain and that they do everything they can to make sure her killer is punished….” The jury sentenced Kitchell to life, which made him eligible for parole after 30 years under Arkansas’s new laws. Kitchell appealed the sentence.
Kitchell argued in his appeal that the circuit court erred by permitting the jury to learn of his prior LWOP sentence. The Arkansas Supreme Court agreed and remanded the case for another re-sentencing. Robin’s family will endure a third sentencing hearing.
Written by an NOVJM volunteer.