"I didn't kill anybody, I'm innocent!" Jason Russell Richardson blurted out in court Monday.
Tell it to the judge.
Actually, Richardson did, and Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg responded by sentencing the Oceanside 41-year-old to die for the 2007 murder of a Tustin Home Depot manager.
Froeberg called Richardson "a cancer to society" who "has little or no regard for any life other than his own."
A jury in April convicted Richardson on one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of robbery and burglary--while also finding a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death true--in the murder of Thomas Egan. The jury unanimously agreed Richardson should die for his crimes. Two previous juries--on May 20, 2010, and April 15--deadlocked on whether the killer should receive the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Richardson left his home the morning of Feb. 9, 2007, wearing a full-body painter's suit, sunglasses, dust mask and gloves. He entered the Home Depot around 10 a.m. that morning carrying a black bag. After approaching store employees and asking for the manager, he walked up to Egan, pulled out a gun and demanded all the cash in the store's safe.
Egan informed Richardson he did not have access to the safe, so the gunman tried to rob employees manning cash registers at the front of the store. After the manager instructed nearby employees to call 9-1-1, he followed Richardson and tried to discourage him from harming or robbing anyone. That is when Richardson shot Egan in the stomach before fleeing the store with about $500.
The store manager, a retired U.S. Marine sergeant, died of massive internal injuries about two hours after undergoing emergency surgery at Western Medical Center. Egan left behind a wife and 3-year-old twin girls.
Richardson, who was linked to the shooting through DNA evidence found in a sock that carried ammo left at the store, was arrested on suspicion of murder Feb. 22, 200, outside an Oceanside parole office.
He now joins 58 other Orange County convicts on Death Row. The state has not put a condemned inmate to death since 2007 due to arguments about whether lethal injections are cruel and unusual punishment.
Richardson and Judge Froeberg were not the only people to speak in court Monday. The store manager's widow, A.J. Egan, delivered a victim's impact statement in which she explained that her husband Tom had been her world and that the killer has torn that world apart forever.
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She also described the difficulty in explaining the murder of their father to her two young daughters and trying to give them a normal life without their dad, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office, which went on to characterize Richardson's outburst as continued evidence that he shows "no remorse for his crime."