Paragraphs 19 & 20 read: "Toxicology results released in February by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office show Richardson's blood alcohol level was at .053 percent, below the .08 legal limit for intoxication in Texas. The level of the antidepressant citalopram, known by the brand name Celexa and found in Richardson's system, wasn't remarkable. Ibuprofen also was detected in his system."
"'I want my son's name cleared,' said Jackson. 'He never pulled a gun on anyone, and he was not drunk."
Family weighs lawsuit in deathBy Celinda Emison ( Contact)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
City officials in Breckenridge were tight-lipped following the outcome of grand jury proceedings Tuesday when two police officers were no-billed in connection with the shooting death of Michael Wayne Richardson.
Richardson, 37, of Albany, died from a single gunshot wound during a confrontation with police at 12:36 a.m. Nov. 29, initial reports said. Breckenridge police officers Scott Gabriel and Jason Holt have been on paid leave since the Nov. 29 incident.
Breckenridge Police Chief Larry Mahan declined to comment on the case but said the officers would remain on paid leave until the next meeting of the Breckenridge city commission, slated for the first Tuesday in June.
"The commission will determine whether the officers will return to duty," Mahan said.
Family and friends of Richardson were devastated after the Stephens County grand jury declined to indict either officer involved.
"I am just disappointed with the whole thing," Wayne Richardson, Mike's father, said Wednesday morning.
Richardson's mother, Connie Jackson, was contacted by Brenda Gray, district attorney for Stephens and Young counties, after the grand jury session ended late Tuesday night. Gray said proceedings began at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 8:30 p.m.
"I believe there was a thorough investigation, and I respect the grand jury's decision," Gray said.
Gray said the case could be presented to another grand jury, but that she will not do so.
Mark Haney, a Fort Worth attorney who put the city on notice in January that wrongful death and civil litigation may be forthcoming, tried to encourage the Richardson family Wednesday.
"My clients are disappointed with the results of the grand jury," Haney said. "The fact that the officers were no-billed as to criminal liability does not mean that there is not a civil claim against them or the city of Breckenridge."
Haney explained that the burden of proof is different in criminal and civil claims.
"We intend to continue our investigation into this matter to determine if the officers and/or the city can be held civilly accountable for their conduct," Haney said. "I believe Michael Richardson should still be alive enjoying life with his family. If there are civil claims to pursue, we intend to pursue them."
According to Reporter-News archives, when officers arrived on the scene, they found Richardson's pickup caught on an aluminum gate post with the wheels spinning. The officers said Richardson did not respond to their verbal commands, and they believed he was attempting to shoot at them, so they opened fire, investigators reported. The investigation revealed that both officers fired their weapons and that the fatal shot was fired from Holt's gun.
Sgt. Shane Morrow, lead investigator on the team of Texas Rangers investigating the case, initially reported that Richardson had a .22-caliber gun on the front seat of the truck -- and it appeared to officers that he "was leaning down to pick it up." Morrow did not return calls for comment Wednesday.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a homicide. Richardson died from a single gunshot wound behind his right ear.
The coroner did not find any gunshot residue on Richardson's hands, indicating he had not recently fired a gun.
Investigators determined that Richardson had just taken a friend home from a Breckenridge bar when the incident occurred.
Toxicology results released in February by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office show Richardson's blood alcohol level was at .053 percent, below the .08 legal limit for intoxication in Texas. The level of the antidepressant citalopram, known by the brand name Celexa and found in Richardson's system, wasn't remarkable. Ibuprofen also was detected in his system.
"I want my son's name cleared," said Jackson. "He never pulled a gun on anyone, and he was not drunk."
The day after the incident, Richardson's red Dodge Ram double cab pickup was released to his family with blood still covering the console.
"That is routine; when our investigation is complete, we return the vehicle," Morrow said in an earlier interview.
More than 100 friends and family showed up at an impromptu memorial service at a local wrecking yard, where mourners gathered around the truck, laid flowers and prayed.
The truck was impounded a second time by investigators to obtain more forensic evidence and later released to the family.
Following Richardson's death, Breckenridge resident Shai Berry organized "Justice for Mike" in hopes that the group could bring attention to the incident.
Berry said she, too, was disappointed by the findings of the grand jury.
"This is no way to clean up our (police) department's reputation," Berry said. "It only added fuel to the fire and it is no way for this community to begin the healing process."