|For Immediate Release
Case # 11ZF0016
April 4, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN FACES DEATH PENALTY PHASE TRIAL AFTER BEING CONVICTED OF MURDER OF HOME DEPOT MANAGER DURING STORE ROBBERY
SANTA ANA – A San Diego man faces a penalty phase jury trial tomorrow to determine if he should receive the death penalty after being convicted of shooting and murdering a Tustin Home Depot Manager. Jason Russell Richardson, 40, Oceanside, was found guilty by a jury April 28, 2010, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of robbery and burglary, and the sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death were found true.
The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case. A pervious jury was unable to reach a verdict regarding death on May 20, 2010. Opening statements in the re-trial of the penalty phase are expected to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
On the morning of Feb. 9, 2007, Richardson left his Oceanside home wearing a full-body painter’s suit, sunglasses, dust mask, and gloves. At approximately 10:00 a.m., Richardson entered a Home Depot store in Tustin carrying a black bag with the intention of stealing money from the store. He wore a disguise to avoid being recognized while trying to blend in with customers who frequent the store.
The defendant approached store employees and asked for the manager. Richardson approached victim Thomas Egan, a store manager, pulled out a gun, and demanded all the cash kept in the store’s safe. After Egan informed Richardson he did not have access to the safe, the defendant headed towards the store’s front cash registers. Egan instructed nearby employees to call 9-1-1 and then followed Richardson to the front of the store.
The defendant attempted to rob an employee at gunpoint and ignored Egan, who was trying to discourage him from harming or robbing anyone. Richardson shot the victim in the stomach. He stole approximately $500 and fled the scene.
The victim was transported to Western Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery. He was pronounced dead approximately two hours later from massive internal bleeding caused by the gunshot wound. Egan, a retired U.S. Marine Sergeant, was a married father of young twin girls.
Richardson was linked to the murder through DNA evidence he left at the scene, including on a sock that the defendant dropped containing bullets. The defendant had previously submitted a DNA sample to the court on another case. On Feb. 22, 2007, Richardson was arrested by police outside an Oceanside Parole Office.
The Tustin Police Department investigated this case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.