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By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

Alleged assault case goes to D.C. Superior Court

Ross Richardson, the senior who allegedly attacked another student in Ivory Tower residence hall this month, will face a hearing at D.C. Superior Court Monday, where a judge will determine if there is probable cause behind his charge to move forward with the case.

University Police Department officers arrested Richardson March 6 after he kicked and punched another senior in Ivory Tower, causing the victim severe head injuries, including bleeding in his brain, according to court documents.

Assault with significant bodily injury – the charge Richardson currently faces – carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail.

Metropolitan Police Department classified the assault as a hate crime, or a crime motivated by prejudice or bias, in police documents. Two witnesses heard Richardson call the victim a “fag” during the incident, according to the documents.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment on the likelihood of a bias charge being added to Richardson’s case in addition to the original assault charge, but said it is possible for court charges to be amended if deemed appropriate at a later stage.

“This case remains under investigation,” Miller said.

If the court adds a bias enhancement to the charge, the maximum incarceration period Richardson could face if found guilty could stretch to almost five years.

The court issued Richardson an order to remain a minimum of 100 yards away from the victim, according to the documents.

Richardson also is forbidden from contacting the victim directly – including via phone, message or any individual aside from his lawyer. Richardson declined to comment for this article.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment on whether Richardson and the suspect reside in the same residence hall or if specific measures are being taken to enforce the stay-away order on campus.

“This case continues to move through the Student Judicial Services process,” the University said in a statement. “We are working with the victim to address his needs.”

Clifford Keenan, deputy director of the D.C. Pretrial Services Agency, which provides supervision and services to defendants awaiting a trial, said it is difficult to enforce a stay-away order from a person rather than a particular place.

“It’s very hard to supervise that kind of condition, especially in a crowded urban setting where people run into each other all the time,” Keenan said. “People can inadvertently run into each other.”

Keenan said it is more common to see an order for a defendant to stay away from specific locations entirely, but with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, a judicial officer might find it difficult to forbid a college student who has been arrested from attending classes.

“If there is a violation of the 100-yard rule, the court would look to see if the person is intentionally violating the stay-away order,” Keenan said.

This article was updated on March 24, 2011 to reflect the following changes:
The Hatchet erroneously reported that MPD initially arrested Richardson. In fact, UPD officers arrested Richardson before MPD arrived on scene.

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