The case against an Adrian murder suspect is ready to move forward in Lenawee County District Court.
25-year-old Austin Richardson is accused of shooting and killing 27-year-old Christopher Dickerson of Weston in late January of 2019. Another man is accused of dumping Dickerson’s body in a wooded area near Morenci, where it was found about a month later. The body had multiple gunshot wounds.
Richardson faces a charge of open murder, which will allow the jury to decide which degree of murder charge applies if they convict him. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could spend up to life in prison without parole.
He also faces charges for gang membership felonies, carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, and felony firearms.
The Adrian Daily Telegram says that at a hearing on Wednesday, Judge Jonathan Poer set the preliminary exam for four days, from June 15th through the 18th. Richardson is expected to appear in person on those dates at the request of his lawyer, but that hinges on whether or not the courts are open due to the coronavirus pandemic at that time.
On that note, the State Court Administrative Office plans to open the state’s courtrooms in phases, mostly determined by the number of coronavirus cases in a given county and whether or not any court employees have recently tested positive. In the first phase of that plan, up to 10 people — including the judge, attorneys, and the defendant — would be allowed in the courtroom.
In June, Richardson had initially waived his right to a preliminary exam, and the case appeared to be headed to a jury trial, but he asked for the case to be remanded to the lower court last month, prompting the prosecution to provide some evidence that Richardson was, in fact, the killer, before a trial is held.
Richardson is also the defendant in two other cases — one involving methamphetamine, the other an organized retail crime — and those are still in circuit court at this time.