Ashley man pleads guilty to aggravated arson

By Glenn Battishill -

An Ashley man pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated arson Tuesday morning in Delaware County Common Pleas Court for burning down his home with his mother inside.

Christopher M. Richardson, 26, was scheduled stand trial Tuesday morning and face one count of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony and two counts of arson, a first-degree felony and a second-degree felony. However, before his trial could begin Richardson reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Richardson entered a guilty plea to one count of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony as part of the agreement with prosecutors. At the hearing, Richardson said that on the morning Jan. 28 he went into the garage, got some gasoline, lit the couch on fire and left his home at 10 Vine Street, in Ashley.

As part of the agreement, the remaining charges were dismissed.

According to the 911 call, Donna Marie Richardson, Christopher’s mother, was able to leave the house before firefighters arrived, but could not locate her son and believed he was still inside. Prosecutors reported Tuesday that Donna Richardson was still in the hospital being treated for her injuries.

Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley accepted Christopher’s guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 5 at 1:30 p.m. The Ohio Revised Code states that the prison term for a first-degree felony is 3-11 years.

A trial for Christopher was originally scheduled for March 28 but it was delayed after Christopher’s attorney, Donald Reeder, filed a motion suggesting that Christopher may not be competent to stand trial.

A competency hearing was held on April 25 and a report from a doctor at Netcare Forensic Center was presented to Gormley. After the report was presented, Gormley ruled that Christopher was competent and the trial was moved to May 30.

Christopher was in the Delaware County Jail Tuesday, where he has been since his arrest on Jan. 28.

He was indicted on Feb. 3.

By Glenn Battishill

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.