The defense team of a Lebanon man accused of murdering two people hopes to use the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance, but will only be able to do so under limited circumstances.
The legal move would allow a jury to consider convicting Brenton Richmond, 50, on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
But first, the jury would have to reject a charge of first-degree murder for the lesser charge of second-degree murder, or the prosecution would have to abandon the charge for the lesser crime, ruled Judge David Delsman during a Linn County Circuit Court hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
Essentially, under an extreme emotional disturbance defense, Richmond’s attorneys would argue that their client experienced a startling event and his response was reasonable, and that an ordinary person could have responded similarly under the same circumstances.
Richmond is scheduled for an 11-day jury trail starting Feb. 4 in Linn County Circuit Court. He is charged with four counts of aggravated murder and one charge of burglary for the shooting deaths of Tammy Hopper and Erick Jacobs on Feb. 7, 2019.
Hopper was Richmond’s ex-girlfriend, and the two had dated on and off for about nine years. At the time of her death, she was dating Jacobs.
Two weeks before the killing, Richmond, a former Lebanon Police Department officer, had threatened to kill Hopper and any man she was seeing, according to court paperwork.
The bodies of Hopper and Jacobs were found on Feb. 9, 2019. The next day, Richmond was detained when he presented his passport to a customs officer as he was entering Mexico on foot.
The next hearing in the case, to discuss pending motions, is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter via @KyleOdegard.