When we started this project we were dismayed as we reviewed court records and realized just how many offenses these thugs get away with. The history of Travis Richardson stunned even us. We will take this opportunity to review that history and see just how many times Richardson could have been imprisoned and this murder prevented.
The case of Travis Richardson has us aghast. This violent offender and repeat drug dealer was given break after break after break by the solicitor's office. How does that happen? Read on and see what we are talking about.
August of 2004. Richardson was charged with distribution of crack cocaine near a school and distribution of crack cocaine. He was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of cocaine possession. The distribution near a school charge was dismissed by the solicitor. He was sentenced to 2 years and $2000, suspended on payment of $200 and the cost of probation.
Less than three weeks after that arrest, he was charged again with possession of cocaine, distribution of cocaine and distribution of cocaine near a school. All three of these charges were dismissed on the same day he pled guilty to the above charge. Can someone explain the reasoning in that? Didn't he show his disregard and contempt for the law by getting out of jail and going back into business as a cocaine dealer?
Three months after the second arrest he was again charged with distribution of cocaine and distribution near a school. These charges were also dismissed. Five cocaine distribution charges in a three month period and he is allowed to plead guilty to one, then is sentenced to two years probation? Really? We blame the solicitor's office and the judge for this one.
August was apparently a bad month for Richardson. In August of 2005 he was charged with distribution of crack cocaine, distribution near a school, possession of marijuana and criminal domestic violence. Both cocaine charges were dismissed by the solicitor after almost THREE years had passed. There is no disposition on the marijuana and domestic violence charges.
In November of 2005 he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a person under 21 and armed robbery. The solicitor, in the usual fashion, dismissed the firearm charge and allowed Richardson to plead guilty to armed robbery. He was sentenced to ten years in January of 2008 - the same day he pled guilty to manslaughter. Apparently the solicitor didn't want to deal with all the charges Richardson had accrued and decided to get rid of them all. When did Richardson shoot Whitfield in the head? In 2007.
In December of 2005 he was charged with a probation violation. As usual, there is no disposition so we don't know if he spent any time in jail for it.
Oh, wait a minute. Twenty days after being charged with violating probation Richardson was arrested yet again for assaulting a police officer, resisting a police officer, and filing a false report. There is no disposition on the false report charge. The solicitor bundled the assault and resisting charge with all of the other charges that had been building up and dismissed them on 10 January, 2008.
Hey, Richardson gets arrested in August again. 2006 brought charges of possession of crack cocaine, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, and giving false information. We don't have a disposition on the false information charge, but the other charges were dismissed on that infamous day in January. As you can see in the disposition below, the solicitor dismissed ALL of these charges in exchange for a guilty plea to the armed robbery charge from 2005.
As a result of the arrest on the 16th of August, Richardson was charged with another probation violation on the 18th. There is no disposition, but it was handled and disposed of within five days.
April of 2007 brought even more trouble with the law. In April Richardson was charged with obstruction of justice. The charge was dismissed on that fateful day in January of 2008.
June of 2007 brought another charge for unlawful carrying of a pistol and unlawful possession of a pistol by a person under 21. Both charges were dismissed by the solicitor on 10 January, 2008.
July of 2007 rolled around and guess what! Richardson was charged yet again with unlawful carrying of a pistol and unlawful possession of a pistol by a person under 21. He also got hit with distribution of crack cocaine and distribution of crack cocaine near a school. These four charges were dismissed by the solicitor on.......you got it.......10 January, 2008.
One month later Richardson was charged yet again with distribution of crack cocaine and distribution of crack cocaine near a school. The solicitor decided to change things up on these two and dismissed them on 14 January 2008, because, you know, that whole January 10th thing was starting to make people think someone hadn't been doing their damn job.
In November of 2007 Richardson shot and killed Whitfield. He was charged with murder and assault with intent to kill. He was allowed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with intent to kill. He was sentenced to twelve years for the manslaughter charge and ten years for the assault with intent to kill. Add the ten years for the armed robbery charge he pled guilty to. Though still woefully inadequate you would think he would be otherwise occupied for the next twenty-two years. You would be wrong. Those sentences run concurrently. Richardson will be released from prison in November of 2018.
Let's sum all of this up. By our count, that totals thirty-one arrests from 2004 to 2007. Of those thirty one offenses all but five were dismissed by the solicitor. Is anyone else enraged by this fact? They could have had this violent thug in prison a dozen times over, but instead, let him run around our community like a savage, carrying guns, selling drugs, assaulting police officers and ultimately murdering a fellow thug.
Cases like this (and they seem to be very common) tell us one thing. These thugs don't care if they splash their illegal activities all over the internet. They know the odds of doing any real time if they get caught are slim to none. What the hell do they have to be afraid of? High bonds? Not with the judges setting bonds in the Lowcountry. The solicitor's office? Not likely.
Law enforcement did an admirable job of staying on this thug and repeatedly putting him in jail. They did their job. The lawyers and the judges failed to do theirs. And a person is dead because of it.
Only six more years until Travis Richardson is roaming the Lowcountry again. You can thank the solicitor's office and some judges for that.