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I'm not sure this will go well for the former Marine. It will depend on the prosecutor and quite probably the jury.


Lawyer: Case was self-defense
West Side man who shot, killed burglary suspect likely to be freed on bond

By Sue Vorenberg
Tribune Reporter
January 3, 2005

Elton John Richard will likely return home tonight after being arrested and charged with killing a burglary suspect, his lawyer said.

Richard, 27, ran after the suspect and shot him on Thursday after he heard the man breaking into his Ford Bronco and garage, said Billy Blackburn, Richard's attorney.

"The burglar went after him first," Blackburn said. "Clearly, based on the information I've received, this is a case of self-defense. The burglar broke into his car and his house - where his 15-month-old son and wife were sleeping - and then tried to get away."

The man shot dead in the incident still hasn't been identified by police, said Detective Jeff Arbogast, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman.

Richard served eight years in the Marines and was in Iraq for several months during the U.S. invasion. He returned to Albuquerque in the fall of 2003 and works for the Department of Energy as a courier, securing nuclear materials, Blackburn said.

Richard has about a dozen medals for his military service, half of which were awarded for his time in Iraq, Blackburn said.

"Whether it was his military training or just a natural reaction to somebody breaking into your home, he reacted," Blackburn said.

Richard will be released on $50,000 bond and will be supervised during his release, Blackburn said.

Arrangements for his release are being finalized this afternoon, Blackburn said.

"He'll be able to go back to work, but he can't leave the city," Blackburn said. "Usually his job takes him all over the country, but he'll have to stay here for now."

Police were dispatched to Richard's house at 8205 Wolverine Drive N.W. late Thursday night on reports of a burglary. An officer driving to the scene observed Richard in the median of Paseo del Norte just east of Eagle Ranch Road.

"I need help. I need help. They were trying to break into my house," Richard told the officer, according to the complaint.

Richard pointed to where he had last seen the burglar, and the officer found a man dead, according to the complaint.

Richard told the officer he had a gun, the complaint states.

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Yes, that's a bad one we've been discussing here in my self defense classes. It is most likely not going to go well for him. Don't know how much has been released, but according to some sources at my school, he was also possibly shot in the back as well. If so, not good...

I think a major issue is that at what point was the BG not a threat to him anymore? Reasonable man test is going to be hard to show here. I understand his emotions, but he may have lost it, maybe that will be part of the defense? Not sure what angle his attorney is going to use, but I think it's going to have to be spectacular to work.

Just hope the antigunners don't point to this one for more "ammo" for their crap.

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this is a really crappy scenario, occuring to a war hero. I hope things work out in his favor but I am not optimistic. Is NM gun friendly? Maybe a jury will employ jury nullification. Charismatic war-hero with a new child and wife defending them from a criminal who I hope has a long criminal record to be viewed that this Former Marine did the citizens a favor. Let us hope.

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