Wife of executed killer blames judge for husband's death
05:21 PM CST on Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Marsha Richard has spent the last 40 days consumed by what-ifs.
What if Judge Sharon Keller, who presides over the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, had allowed her husband’s last minute appeal to move forward?
What if Michael Richard, who raped and brutally murdered a 53-year-old nurse, had been spared death by lethal injection?
“He was denied due process. She basically stopped his appeal. Stopped his appeal from reaching the court,” Marsha Richard said.
Her husband’s fight to live ended in a Texas death chamber on September 25, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Kentucky case challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection.
Richard’s attorneys wanted to file a similar appeal, but they were minutes late – Judge Keller had closed her office.
That spawned protests outside her home last week and a federal lawsuit, filed in Houston Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that were it not for the unilateral actions of Sharon Keller, that Michael Richard would be alive today,” attorney Randall Kallinen said.
Kallinen said he wants Keller sanctioned and civil rights damages for Richard’s wife.
No one at the judge’s officer returned 11 News’ calls, but legal expert Professor Gerald Treece said the law protects her.
“Why not give him a few extra minutes. We’re talking about literally somebody’s life,” Marsha Richard said.
For those who believe the judge went too far, the fight is far from over.