House Panel Approves Proposal To Compensate Man Wrongfully Accused of Murdering His 7 Children

Apr 21, 2014

James Richardson (left) in this undated photo taken by the New York Times
Credit New York Times / dealthpenaltyinfo.org

A state legislative House panel has approved a plan aimed at compensating an elderly man wrongfully accused of one of the worst mass murders in Florida history.

The proposal by Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Lake Worth) expands the state's wrongful incarceration law to consider the case of 77-year-old James Richardson, who was living in Arcadia in 1967 when he was accused of poisoning his seven children.

Richardson spend more than 20 years behind bars before he was freed in 1989 amid allegations of misconduct and perjury by prosecutors and investigators

Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) discussed the bill Monday before the House Appropriations committee, Williams compared Richardson's case to that of Rubin Carter, a former middleweight who was convicted for a 1985 triple-murder in New Jersey.

"[It's] timely, given the fact that another individual who was wrongfully incarcerated, Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, who just recently passed away this weekend. If we can give some peace of mind to a gentleman who basically had his life taken away from him--Mr. Richardson--I think it's a great day and a great step in the Florida House to do that and I'll support the bill," Williams said.

Carter spent 19 years in prison before a federal judge ruled in 1985 that he didn't receive a fair trail and released him.

Meanwhile, Richardson;s case remains unsolved. The evidence points to an angry neighbor as the likely killer. She is long dead.