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Death-penalty retrial starts in Home Depot murder

By LARRY WELBORN / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Published: Oct. 11, 2011 Updated: Aug. 21, 2013 1:17p.m.

Jurors will be asked to decide if Oceanside man deserves the death penalty for gunning down the manager of the Tustin Home Depot in a botched robbery.

SANTA ANA – Jury selection got underway Tuesday in the third death-penalty trial for an Oceanside man convicted of murdering the manager of a Tustin Home Depot during a botched robbery in 2007.

The first two penalty hearings for Jason Russell Richardson, 40, ended in hung juries. The first jury deadlocked at 9-3 in favor of a death sentence rather than life in prison without the possibility of parole. The second jury stymied at 11-1 in favor of the death penalty.

Richardson, who has prior convictions for rape, grand theft and domestic violence, was convicted during the guilt-innocence phase of his first trial in 2010 of the special-circumstances murder of Tom Egan, who tried to prevent Richardson from hurting anyone else during the mid-morning robbery of the Tustin Marketplace Home Depot on Feb. 9, 2007.

The third trial before Superior Court Judge William Froeberg is expected to last about eight days.

Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley contends that Richardson deserves the death penalty because of the cold, calculated manner in which he killed Egan, his criminal background, and the devastating effect the murder has had on Egan’s widow, the mother of their two daughters.

But defense attorney George Peters contends that Richardson should be spared a death penalty, in part because of his “lousy, hideous upbringing” when he was raised by an alcoholic grandmother and a drug-addicted mother who had a series of violent boyfriends and connections to the Hells Angels.

Richardson wore a painter’s suit as a disguise when he walked into The Home Depot carrying a gun and demanded money. Witnesses testified that Egan tried to protect other employees before Richardson shot him in the stomach, grabbed about $500 from the cash register, stepped over Egan’s body and fled.

Egan died two hours later from massive internal bleeding. He was a retired U.S. Marine sergeant and the father of 3-year-old twin girls.

The shooting was captured on the store’s surveillance-video cameras. Richardson was linked to the crime scene when his DNA was found on a dirty sock carrying ammunition that he accidentally dropped inside the store.

Contact the writer: lwelborn@ocregister.com or 714-834-3784

Originally posted: http://www.ocregister.com/news/richardson-321402-death-egan.html

Article Copy: Death-penalty retrial starts in Home Depot murder