Double-murder trial moving fast after day 3 testimonies

The trial is scheduled to last through mid-November

Robert Richardson Jr. is accused of double murder. Day 3 of the trial was on Thursday, Oct. 5 (KOIN)
Robert Richardson Jr. is accused of double murder. Day 3 of the trial was on Thursday, Oct. 5 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As Josh Foster walked into the courtroom Thursday and took his first few steps towards the witness box he exhaled deeply.

Shortly after taking his seat, Foster lightly tugged at his shirt straightening it out for the jury. In the upper corner of his t-shirt read “Hourglass Pub.”

Foster is going on 10 years of working as bartender at Hourglass Pub. When was working the night of Oct. 2, 2015 when Anthony Howard and Eric Takemoto were gunned down in what officials have described as a “senseless shooting.”

Robert Richardson Jr. is on trial for the aggravated murders of Howard and Takemoto and the assault of a third man, Josh Wiebe, who was shot in the leg. His defense team maintains that the shooting was an act of self-defense.

Foster told the jury that he got to work the night of the shooting around 6:30 p.m. and that a group of people was at the bar already celebrating. He said he knew about 90% of the people at the bar, including Howard and Takemoto.

Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Glen Banfield asked Foster to describe his relationship with Howard.

“Brothers,” he replied without hesitation.

Surveilance photo from outside the Hourglass Pub, where two men were gunned down on Oct. 2, 2015 (KOIN).
Surveilance photo from outside the Hourglass Pub, where two men were gunned down on Oct. 2, 2015 (KOIN).

The trial is scheduled to last through mid-November but attorneys on both sides indicated that the case is moving faster than expected. The state has suggested that it will finish its evidence presentation sometime on Tuesday. The defense council is still planning out witnesses.

Foster told the jury that he got to work the night of the shooting around 6:30 p.m. and that a group of people was at the bar already celebrating. He said he knew about 90% of the people at the bar, including Howard and Takemoto.

One of the people Foster did not know at the bar that night was Richardson.

“He ordered a beer or two,” Foster recalled, describing him as cordial.

When Banfield asked Foster if it was possible that Richardson has more than 3 drinks that night he said, “it’s very possible.”

Cotrell Moore told the jury during his witness testimony that he had taken a shot with Richardson, adding that Richardson didn’t appear intoxicated though he did say he was being a little louder.

Foster told the jury that he first realized that there was something going wrong at the bar when he was waived over by Howard, who was outside in the parking lot.

Other witnesses have testified that Howard and Takemoto went outside into the bar’s smoking area, which is located in a back parking lot. Richardson was also out there. There was a confrontation between Takemoto and Richardson. Howard was trying to break up the fight.

“What I seen was (Howard) pushing and separating (Takemoto) and…”The bartender paused during this testimony and looked over at Richardson in the courtroom. Holding back tears he seemed to struggle recalling – or simply unwilling to say Richardson’s name in court. “The whatever,” he continued. “The other person.”

He continued to tell the jury, “the other person pulled out a weapon and started firing.”

Howard was hit first, according to earlier testimony. His hands, according to the prosecutor, were out and his hands up as he tried to calm everything down. Takemoto was shot next as Richardson continued to spray bullets from his 9mm handgun.

“It was pretty much everybody running away from [Richardson],” Foster said. “We were pushing each other through the door to get away.”

When he looked back, he saw Takemoto died in the doorway. Foster was the first to call 9-1-1.

“It was slow motion for me,” he told the jury when asked how much time had passed from when he was waived down by Howard to when the shooting ended.

Banfield asked Foster if anyone was threatening or advancing towards Richardson prior to him pulling out his gun and shooting.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “Absolutely not.”