Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Daniel Williams

A New Suspect

The DNA pulled from inside the condom, the DNA of the unknown male, belonged to Erin Jon Richardson, a career criminal who had done six years for armed robbery.

His other arrests included assault with a deadly weapon, drug charges, and forgery. While locked up in 1996, the year before Daniel was killed, prison officials had taken a DNA swab from the inside of Richardson's cheek to feed into the new database.

"It was a tremendous break," Detective Abdul says. "It was a tremendous break in the fact that we now had a suspect that we can focus on, we now had a suspect that we can talk to."

But the case was by no means a slam dunk.

Richardson's and Daniel's DNA inside and outside the condom found at the crime scene only proved that they had been there together and that they had sex there, not that Richardson had killed Daniel.

Erin Richardson proved elusive. Abdul and Fanning got word to his parole officer that they were looking for him. Then they contacted Richardson's mother. She claimed she had not seen her son in years and didn't know where he was.

The lack of cooperation from Richardson's mom didn't surprise Detective Baitx when he heard about it. "Usually with a mother, you always take (what they say) with a grain of salt," he says. "Mothers want to protect their children no matter how good or bad they are."

Abdul and Fanning left their business cards with Richardson's mother just in case. Then the two detectives pressed on with their hunt for their suspect. Good DNA evidence is hard to refute.

"It's like catching a guy with the gun in his hand, with his fingerprints on it," Fanning says.




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