Harvill Richardson found not guilty of murder - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harvill Richardson found not guilty of murder

Richardson was found not guilty following a two-day trial. (Photo source: WLOX) Richardson was found not guilty following a two-day trial. (Photo source: WLOX)
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The man previously convicted of murder in the 2009 shooting death of Rudy Quilon has been found not guilty. 

Harvill Richardson was convicted in 2011, but the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a retrial after it ruled more evidence should have been disclosed to the court.

"We had the very, very unfortunate outcome the last time when the jury did not get to hear the full defense. This time the jury got to hear the full defense and then the verdict was right," said Richardson's attorney, Michael Crosby.

During a two-day trial that began March 15, investigators said Richardson shot Quilon after an argument turned violent. The men were acquaintances, and Quilon reportedly lived at Richardson’s home on Old Hwy. 67.

Crosby argued that evidence the court refused to allow during his initial trial would have shown Richardson shot Quilon in self-defense. Crosby argued Quilon had a violent history and threatened Richardson and his family.

During Wednesday’s testimony, jurors heard the 911 call Richardson made the night Quilon was shot. On the tape, Richardson said he “fired a warning shot” to keep Quilon from attacking him.

The prosecution laid out what an attorney called a simple case, telling the jury the facts stand on their own. That Quilon was unarmed and shot to death.

In opening statements, Crosby explained Richardson's frame of mind at the time of the shooting, telling jurors the shooting happened after Quilon told Richardson he wanted to have sex with Richardson's wife. Crosby also told the jury Richardson believed Quilon had some kind of weapon. 

Crosby also prepared the jury to listen to the 911 call, saying the call indicated Richardson felt threatened by Quilon.  

Two Biloxi police officers who responded to the shooting took the stand. One testified Richardson "had alcohol on his breath and bloodshot eyes" that night. The jury also saw the .44 caliber handgun used in the shooting, along with the bullet that killed Quilon.

The defense described how Richardson and Quilon came to know each other. Crosby told jurors Quilon had been living on the Richardson’s property for several months before the shooting.

Crosby painted a picture of the Richardson family trying to help Quilon, a homeless man whom their priest said needed some help, only to have the visitor disrupt the family.

The judge ruled against Crosby’s request to allow testimony from Richardson’s family about his history of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It's been like hell. I went through the court. I did time in prison 41 months - wrongly. They tried to change the truth, but we got it straight. The jury got it. Thank you. We're going home to celebrate," said Richardson. 

Members of Quilon’s family told reporters they are frustrated Richardson was granted a new trial.

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