Portland double murder trial: ‘Not a whodunit’

Eric Takemoto and Anthony Howard were shot and killed in 2015

Robert Jermaine Richardson Jr
Robert Jermaine Richardson Jr., 21, shown in a jail booking photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – He started it. He escalated it. He ended it.

That’s how a senior deputy district attorney portrayed a 23-year-old man during the opening statements of an aggravated murder trial.

Robert Richardson Jr. sat quietly dressed in a pressed, white button up shirt with a dark tie as Multnomah County Senior District Attorney Glen Banfield went over the state’s theory of what happened on October 2, 2015.

Exactly two years ago Tuesday, Banfield told the jury how the parents of 30-year-old Eric Jacob Takemoto and 42-year-old Anthony Michael Howard woke up to “every parent’s worst nightmare.”

The two men had both been shot multiple times, according to police.

“This is not a whodunit case. It’s a whydunit.”– Russell S. Barnett III during opening statements.

Family and friends of both victims filled the courtroom. They cried openly as the state showed the jury the images of both men’s bodies during the autopsy.

According to Banfield’s opening statements, Howard and Takemoto were at the Hourglass Pub on the night of October 2, 2015 to celebrate several friends’ birthdays.

Around 10:20 p.m. that night the two men exited the bar. They went outside to an area that doubles as the bar’s parking lot and smoking area. There were four other people outside at the time. The group of six wasn’t arguing. They were smoking.

Richardson was also out there as well.

His criminal defense attorney Russell S Barnett III told the jury Richardson was never aggressive. He certainly wasn’t causing any problems and wasn’t being “disrespectful,” as Banfield had described Richardson.

The state hopes the jury will believe their witnesses who reported that Richardson was acting like a hot head, someone who was especially aggressive for no apparent reason.

Richardson and Takemoto got into an argument. The two attorneys differ on who they believe threw the first punch.

Video from the bar shows Howard trying to step into break up the fight. It also captures the entire shooting from start to finish.

“His hands were up and out,” Banfield said as he demonstrated to the jury.

“He was trying to cool things down,” Banfield said.

Howard was able to separate the two men, but moments after the two men were separated Richardson pulled out a handgun and started shooting.

“He didn’t stop until he was out of rounds,” Banfield said.

Detectives collected 12 shell casings from the scene.

Howard was the first person to be hit. The other people who were outside “ran for their lives,” according to Banfield, but Richardson started shooting at them.

Both Howard and Takemoto died at the scene.

A third victim, Joshua Wiebe, was shot in the leg.

“He didn’t stop until he was out of rounds.” — DA Glen Banfield to jury

Banfield played the 9-1-1 call the bartender made.

It was chaotic. The bartender, though, gave police what prosecutors believe is critical information.

“Seattle gear,” the bartender said when asked what kind of clothing the shooter was wearing.

Prosecutors then showed the clothing Richardson was wearing when he was arrested. He had on a Seattle Seahawks jacket on and the video from the bar shows him wearing a Seattle Seahawks hat.

The hat would come off during the fight outside near the parking lot. Testing would reveal Richardson’s DNA on the hat, according to Banfield.

According to police, Richardson fled the scene right after the shooting.

“He almost made it home,” Banfield said as he showed a map that had Richardson’s address highlighted in relation to the bar.

Police took Richardson into custody near 82nd and Couch Street. Officers used a police K-9 to locate the gun they said was used in the double murder.

Banfield told the jury the fact that Richardson fled and tried to hide evidence should be a clear indicator that the shooting was not self-defense.

During his interview with police, Richardson reportedly said, “I don’t know nothing about nothing,” Banfield said.

Barnett, during his opening statements, urged the jury to review and consider the evidence “with your head and not your heart.”

“This is not a whodunit case,” he told the jury. “It’s a whydunit.”

The trial is expected to last through mid-November.

The state’s first witness was a Portland police officer.

Continuing coverage | Witness: Double murder suspect was a ‘bit intoxicated’

Editor’s Note: Due to a web staff member’s inadvertent error, a pull quote in an earlier version of this story misidentified the attorney speaking during opening statements. The corrected attribution has been added.