PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The jury hearing evidence in a double murder trial is now on a 6-day recess as the defense team prepares to present its self-defense case.
Robert Richardson Jr. is charged with aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, 1st-degree assault, 2nd-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon.
The charges stem from the Oct. 2, 2015 shooting at the Hourglass Pub in Northeast Portland that killed Anthony Howard and Eric Takemoto and wounded Joshua Wiebe.
Richardson’s criminal defense attorneys Russell S. Barnett III and Christopher E. Burris have told the court and the jury that the shooting was done in self-defense.
The state called its final witness in its case in chief on Tuesday, concluding with Portland Police Homicide Detective Mark Slater. The defense team chose not to cross-examine the detective, but asked that he remain under subpoena — an indication that he could be called back to testify at a later date as part of the defense’s case.
When reached by phone after court, Barnett declined to comment on the reasons why he and Burris chose not to cross Slater.
Kevin Sali, who is a criminal defense attorney but not associated with the Richardson case, said there are “many, many reasons” why a defense attorney may not want to cross-examine a witness.
“Russ Barnett is a very smart lawyer,” Sali said. “Sometimes, the most obvious reason for not crossing, is when the witness has not harmed your case.”
Sali said it’s not always obvious to the people in the courtroom to notice when a particular witness has or has not hurt a lawyer’s case.
“Another possibility is that they have questions to ask [the detective], but they want to wait until it’s their own case and sometimes that’s almost necessary,” Sali said.
He said the defense team in Richardson’s case may not have been able to ask the questions it wanted to of Slater because the prosecution did not discuss the specific topic during direct questioning and any questions outside the scope of direct wouldn’t be allowed.
Slater’s testimony was mostly confined to the evidence that was collected at the scene of the alleged crime. He told the jury that during a search warrant of Richardson’s home, investigators found a holster that matched the firearm prosecutors say was used to kill Howard and Takemoto.
Slater demonstrated to the jury how the gun fit into the holster. He also talked about evidence that was found on Richardson’s phone.
When detectives secured a search warrant, they had a specialist within the police bureau look at the photos and found a picture of a firearm that matched the one in question in the double homicide. The photo was taken on Sept. 6, 2015, about a month prior to the deadly shooting.
Slater told the jury the ATF was able to run a gun trace on the weapon that was recovered at the time of Richardson’s arrest. Police were then able to determine Richardson was given the gun by a family member, according to the detective’s testimony.
The detective described Richardson’s demeanor while being interviewed at police headquarters as “carefree.”
Slater said it appeared Richardson had “no care, no concern…it was just his words and actions were very cocky.”
Prosecutors have said they believe Richardson’s behavior with police at, during and after his arrest was atypical of someone who is claiming self-defense after shooting three people and killing two of them.
The defense team will start presenting its case on Oct. 16. It remains unknown if Richardson will testify.