Sentencing moved in arson case

By Glenn Battishill - [email protected]



The sentencing hearing has been rescheduled for an Ashley man who pleaded guilty to burning his house down in January.

Christopher M. Richardson, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, as part of a plea agreement with Delaware County Prosecutors at a hearing on May 30.

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 St., in Ashley.

According to the 911 call, Donna Marie Richardson, Christopher Richardson’s mother, was able to leave the house before firefighters arrived, but could not locate her son and believed he was still inside. Prosecutors said his mother was injured in the fire and was still being treated for her injuries at Richardson’s change of plea hearing in May.

Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley accepted Richardson’s plea at the May hearing and scheduled him to be sentenced on July 5.

However, on June 27, Richardson’s attorney, Donald Reeder, asked that the sentencing be continued because a mitigation witness he planned to have testify was called away to another state for a family emergency and would not be able to make the hearing.

Gormley granted Reeder’s motion and rescheduled the sentencing hearing for July 26 at 8:30 a.m.

Richardson remained in the Delaware County Jail Wednesday, awaiting his sentencing hearing.

Richardson was indicted on Feb. 3 and charged with 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, as part of the plea agreement, the attempted aggravated murder charge was dismissed along with one of the arson charges.

A trial for Richardson was originally scheduled for March 28, but it was delayed after Reeder filed a motion suggesting that Richardson 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 Richardson was competent and the trial was moved to May 30.


By Glenn Battishill

[email protected]

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.