Witnesses rebut accused Portland killer’s testimony

Robert Richardson Jr. on trial for killing 2 men in 2015

Robert Richardson Jr. looks at notes on Oct. 17, 2017 in Multnomah County Circucit Court. (Brent Weisberg/KOIN)
Robert Richardson Jr. looks at notes on Oct. 17, 2017 in Multnomah County Circucit Court. (Brent Weisberg/KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The murder trial of Robert Richardson Jr. continued Tuesday as prosecutors called several rebuttal witnesses to contradict Richardson’s testimony.

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Karin J. Immergut reviews jury instructions in the aggravated murder trial of Robert Richardson Jr., October 17, 2017 (KOIN/Brent Weisberg)
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Karin J. Immergut reviews jury instructions in the aggravated murder trial of Robert Richardson Jr., October 17, 2017 (KOIN/Brent Weisberg)

Monday, Richardson testified he felt “surrounded” with people “closing in” on him when he shot and killed Anthony Howard and Eric Takemoto. The Oct. 2, 2015 shooting at the Hourglass Pub in Northeast Portland also wounded Joshua Wiebe.

Richardson told the jury he was attacked and was “side-blinded” by someone who hit him during an argument with Takemoto in the parking lot of the Hourglass Pub.

Rebuttal witnesses

The state called Justin Wood, Portland Police officer Jason Hensey, the bartender for the Hourglass Pub and Wiebe’s girlfriend as rebuttal witnesses.

Wood, who was at the bar when the shooting occurred and was originally called as a state witness in its case, was asked by Multnomah County senior deputy district attorney Nathan Vasquez if he saw Howard take any threatening actions toward Richardson.

“No,” then testified he saw Richardson take a “swing” at Takemoto.

During his testimony on Monday, Richardson told the jury he was trying to get back into the bar when he started to feel threatened. He said he believed it would be safer inside the bar.

Multnomah County senior deputy district attorneys Glen Banfield (left) and Nathan Vasquez (right) watch video during cross examination on Oct. 17, 2017. (KOIN/Brent Weisberg)
Multnomah County senior deputy district attorneys Glen Banfield (left) and Nathan Vasquez (right) watch video during cross examination on Oct. 17, 2017. (KOIN/Brent Weisberg)

“Did Mr. Richardson then attempt to walk into the bar?” Vasquez asked?

“No,” replied Wood.

“Was anyone behind him [Richardson]?”

“No.”

“Was he surrounded?”

“No.”

Vasquez asked Wood if he saw anyone hit Richardson prior to him taking out his gun.

“There was no one around him,” Wood testified.

Defense attorney Russell S. Barnett III questioned whether Wood could actually see what he testified to or if he was potentially relying on video that he had reviewed with the state prior to trial.

During the cross examination, Wood confirmed he had earlier in the day testified everyone in the parking lot was “just standing there.”

“But they were walking toward him [Richardson], correct?” Barnett asked as surveillance video played.

“Yeah,” Wood replied.

The police officer

PPB officer Jason Hensey testified he took Richardson into custody shortly after the shooting. Richardson admitted he ran from the crime scene immediately after the shooting. Prosecutors said Richardson ditched the gun in an effort to conceal the murder weapon. It was later recovered.

Multnomah County senior deputy district attorney Glen Banfield asked Hensey if he noticed any injuries to Richardson during the time Richardson was with Hensey.

“No,” Hensey replied.

Criminal defense attorney Russell S. Barnett III takes notes as a witness testifies in the aggravated murder trial of Robert Richardson Jr., Octobere 17, 2017 (KOIN/Brent Weisberg)
Criminal defense attorney Russell S. Barnett III takes notes as a witness testifies in the aggravated murder trial of Robert Richardson Jr., Octobere 17, 2017 (KOIN/Brent Weisberg)

Banfield also asked about the bureau’s mobile data terminals, which are computers installed in patrol vehicles. Hensey said the computers can provide “all sorts” of information that an officer would need to know about a call. Hensey said the call at the Hourglass Pub was coded as a “shooting.”

Hensey said the words “aggravated” and “murder” never appeared on his computer screen. Richardson testified the first time he knew his bullets may have hit somebody was when he was inside the patrol car and he saw an abbreviation for aggravated murder.

The bartender

To support its claim no one was attacking Richardson, the state called the bartender for the Hourglass Pub back to the witness stand. He previously testified he was called out to the parking lot by Howard. When he got outside, the bartender testified he saw Howard trying to keep the peace between Richardson and Takemoto.

Banfield asked the bartender if he ever hit Richardson.

“Absolutely not,” he replied.

“Did anyone strike the defendant from behind?”

“While I was out there? No.”

The bartender also testified he never saw anyone “ball their fist”, a possible indication of a fight.

Wiebe’s girlfriend

Meagan Saban was also called back on Tuesday.

During her cross examination, Barnett posed questions to call into dispute her ability to accurately depict Richardson’s behavior at the bar when they never had any interaction. During her initial testimony, she described Richardson as “rapping” or saying “angry words” on the phone.

Richardson denied ever rapping and said that when he was on the phone, his mood was “cool.”

Closing arguments to come

Tuesday marked the end of all evidence being presented in the case.

The jury was sent home after the state concluded its rebuttal case. Attorneys continued to work on the instructions the jury will be given prior to their deliberations. Closing arguments are scheduled to occur sometime Wednesday.

After closing arguments are presented, the jury will start deliberations.

Robert Richardson Jr. in court, Oct. 10, 2017. (KOIN)