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Central Point woman gets life for murdering husband

A Central Point woman will serve 25 years to life in prison for shooting her estranged husband in the head.

On Friday, a 12-person jury found Louise Richards, 74, guilty of second-degree murder in the Aug. 28, 2017, shooting death of her husband, 70-year-old Terry Alan Richards, at the home they shared in the first block of Victoria Way in Central Point.

Deputy district attorneys Ben Lull and Patrick Green drew from more than three-dozen pieces of evidence in the weeklong trial, including a Ruger .357 revolver, filings in the Richards’ pending divorce proceedings and the Richards’ email, phone and text message records. She was sentenced by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Barnack.

Louise and Terry Richards lived in the same house despite divorce proceedings going back roughly a year, according to court documents.

The day of the shooting, Louise Richards worked an early-morning shift at the school bus yard, paid a $1,400 legal bill related to the couple’s divorce, made herself lunch and drank “one to three glasses of wine,” according to Lull.

After lunch, the couple argued in the hall about terms of a divorce settlement previously negotiated through a mediation process. “The victim remained steadfast in his intention to get his fair share in the divorce settlement and told the defendant he wanted to seek more than the current settlement would have given him,” Lull wrote.

After the argument, prosecutors say, Louise Richards retreated to her bedroom and stewed on the argument, while Terry Richards packed boxes in the living room.

Louise Richards took a handgun from a cabinet, walked down the hall and, while Terry Richards was sitting in a recliner taping up a cardboard box, she shot him in the back of the head.

Louise Richards called a friend at her workplace before she called 911, prosecutors say.

The couple’s history of physical violence is uncertain, Lull wrote. The only documented incident in their 23-year marriage was in 2008, when Louise Richards reported to Central Point police that her husband slapped her. When police investigated the allegation, Terry Richards gave police a different version of events in which Louise “actually pushed him.”

No charges were ever filed.

In the roughly nine months leading up to the shooting, Louise reportedly gained access to her husband’s text and email messages and hid a secret camera in their home to spy on her husband, according to Lull.

A civil trial against Louise Richards is currently scheduled for the second week of February, Jackson County Circuit Court records show. Marion Richards, one of Terry Richards’ three children, filed a $3.4 million wrongful death and elder abuse lawsuit seeking monetary damages from Louise Richards.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 30 in the civil case, and a three-day trial is scheduled to start Feb. 11.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Louise May Richards.