Police collect computers, tub water, a note in alleged baby killing

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StarTribune

Randel Richardson is to appear in court for the third consecutive week Wednesday.

By ROCHELLE OLSON

Last update: August 18, 2010 – 1:21 PM

For the third time in as many weeks, accused baby killer Randel Richardson is to appear in Hennepin County District Court today. Meanwhile, authorities released details from three search warrants executed at his Eden Prairie home.

Richardson, 36, is in jail in lieu of $2 million bail. He faces a first-degree murder charge in the drowning of his 6-month-old son Rowan Richardson last month. Twice he appeared in arraignment court without a lawyer. The first time he told the judge he was representing himself. The second time, he said he was in the process of hiring a lawyer.

Three search warrants executed at the Richardson’s Eden Prairie provide only the slightest of details about what allegedly happened when Richardson was alone with his child while his wife shopped for groceries.

Using the warrants, police collected computers, electronic records, receipts, body fluids and water from the tub where baby Rowan’s body was found by his mother July 31.

After returning home and finding her dead child, Richardson’s wife, Karen, told police her husband was on an antidepressant but three weeks earlier had stopped taking an anti-psychotic drug. The warrants do not say which drugs Richardson was on or why he took them.

When the officers arrived that day, they tried to revive the child, who was not breathing and appeared to have drowned. The officers found Richardson sitting on a couch in the main level of the house staring straight ahead and appearing “unresponsive,” the warrant application said.

An officer asked Richardson if he had fallen asleep and his child went under water. Richardson said, “I did this on purpose,” according to the warrant application and the complaint against him.

Police arrested Richardson, whose clothing was damp around his mid-section.

According to the warrant: The boy’s mother left the house about 4:00 p.m. to go to the store. She called at 4:50 p.m., and Richardson told her the child was fine. But when she returned home at 5:30, Richardson was on the main level, and the baby was underwater, face up in the laundry room tub, the application said.

Richardson told police he took the baby to the basement after his wife’s phone call. He provided no reason.

Police collected the wife’s Target receipt as well as water from the tub and other evidence, including a handwritten note from the kitchen table. They provided no information on what was in the note.

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747