Jerrell Carl Richardson started Christmas Day 2017 intending to return to his home in Philadelphia.
He never made it, and it will be years before he ever does.
Richardson, 24, was ordered Tuesday in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to serve 11 and a half years in prison. His Spotsylvania convictions, which include eluding and attempted aggravated malicious wounding, were part of a multistate Christmas Day crime spree that included firing a shot toward a Virginia state trooper in Spotsylvania.
According to court records, the Spotsylvania part of the day began after Richardson fled from an attempted traffic stop in Henrico County and tried to drive into a Henrico police officer. Richardson has already been convicted of charges in Henrico.
He sped north on Interstate 95 through Caroline County at more than 100 mph, sometimes on the shoulder of the road, in a car that had been stolen from a gas station in Thomasville, N.C. The vehicle was struck by a police cruiser about a mile and a half north of the Thornburg exit in Spotsylvania and stopped.
Richardson ran into the woods with a trooper in pursuit. During the foot chase, Richardson fired a single shot that missed and was struck when the trooper returned fire. The injured suspect was still able to keep running to a hiding spot.
He was eventually spotted by a Fairfax County helicopter and was taken into custody. He directed police to the hidden gun and confessed to multiple crimes, court records state.
He still has charges pending in South Carolina, North Carolina and Dinwiddie County in Virginia.
Defense attorney Price Koch asked Judge Ricardo Rigual for a sentence of six years. The recommended state sentencing guidelines call for an active sentence of between six and just over 13 years.
Koch said Richardson had a good upbringing and had no criminal record prior to that day. “We think there is hope and we hope the court sees that,” Koch said.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Travis Bird said it was “only by the grace of God” and Richardson’s actions didn’t result in more serious consequences.
Riqual sentenced Richardson to a total of 20 years, with eight and a half years suspended. The judge said it was “blind luck” that someone wasn’t killed.
Police surrounded the area and a Fairfax County helicopter helped officers on the ground find Richardson hiding in the median, Richardson’s plea agreement states. He was taken into custody and directed police to where he had hidden the gun.
He later admitted to a series of crimes while being interviewed at Mary Washington Hospital.
In addition to the carjacking in North Carolina, Richardson admitted to a robbery at a truck stop in Brunswick County and an attempted robbery at a store in Dinwiddie County, in which a shot was fired.
He has cases pending there, as well as in South Carolina.
In addition to Richardson’s confession, police found evidence in the stolen car and video evidence tying him to the various crimes.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404