BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Dimlich on Thursday, June 30, 2022, denied a Shady Spring father’s request that the court reduce his bond and let him await trial on child abuse charges at home.
Bobby Joe Richmond and his wife, Rebecca Mae Richmond, are both in Southern Regional Jail on charges of child abuse resulting in risk of serious injury and conspiracy. Bobby Richmond is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
The State alleges that they kept a young girl locked in a laundry room and that they abused her with a “cattle prod.” They homeschooled the child, according to statements made in court, and allegedly shaved her head.
It was unclear, based on court statements Thursday, if Rebecca Mae Richmond is the child’s biological mother or a stepmother. Bobby’s defense attorney, Mike Froble, asked Dimlich on Thursday to reduce Bobby’s bond from $25,000 to $2,500 and to allow him to await trial on home confinement.
Raleigh Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parsons asked Dimlich to give heavy consideration to the serious nature of the charges. Parsons also argued that the defendant could potentially contact the victim if he is not in jail.
Under questioning by Parsons, Raleigh Sheriff’s Deputy Roy McDaniel testified that in February, one of Bobby Richmond’s relatives had reportedly visited a house at Irish Mountain Road. The house is owned by a relative, but Parsons reported that Bobby, Rebecca, and Bobby’s mother, Carol Richmond, were living in the house with the victim.
After the visit, the relative called Raleigh County 911 and reported that she had witnessed a little girl at the house with a shaved head and marks on her body. The relative reported the child was locked in a room and was being abused.
“They (the 911 caller) advised they’d been ‘tazing’ her with a stun gun,” testified McDaniel.
When McDaniel arrived, he said, Bobby was in a truck and had a firearm in the vehicle. Due to a previous charge, it is illegal for the defendant to have a firearm, said McDaniel. McDaniel testified that Rebecca permitted police to enter the house. When they entered, he testified, police saw Carol Workman sitting on a sofa.
Rebecca said the child was, “in her room,” according to McDaniel.
“I was expecting to go to actually go to a child’s room,” he testified. “Instead, we rounded a corner. Right beside a bathroom was a white door that was locked, with a hinge-style lock, up high,” McDaniel continued. “I could hear a little girl coming from the back of that door.”
McDaniel said he asked the child to open the door. Rebecca spoke to the child through a crack in the locked door, he said.
He testified Rebecca told him the child could not open the door because she was naked. McDaniel said he told Rebecca to open the door and cover the child.
He said when he entered, he could see that the child had marks on her body, which police later learned was caused by a rash. In the cramped room, he said, there was a washer and dryer, a water heater with wires running from the heater into the wall, a bucket of yellow cleaning fluid, and, “a little desk sitting up there for her to do homeschool type work.”
McDaniel said Rebecca took the little girl upstairs to a room that had her name on the wall and dressed her so that McDaniel could photograph her.
Parsons presented the photos to Dimlich, along with photos of the house, including the defendants’ bedroom.
There were no narcotics but the house was in general disarray, testified McDaniel, with food left on counters, used sanitary pads on the floor, two live ducks in a tub and four crates of dogs, stacked on top of one another in a room.
Despite the available food, said McDaniel, the victim told police she had not been given food the day before their arrival and that she had eaten only beans on the day they arrived.
During the bond hearing, Bobby asked the judge to order the media to leave the courtroom. His attorney said he feared that other prisoners at Southern Regional Jail would physically abuse him, due to the charges being reported by the media.
Dimlich told the defendant that “this is America” and ordered the media could stay. He agreed to the defense’s request that Bobby be permitted to leave the courtroom to avoid being photographed. Froble continued representing Bobby once he had left the courtroom.
Citing the seriousness of the charges, the judge did not reduce bond.
“There’s the additional charge of being a prohibited carrier,” added Dimlich. “He obviously had a previous conviction on him. Quite frankly, given the testimony, I’ve heard and review of the criminal complaint, totally understanding (Richmond) is innocent until proven guilty, I think the $25,000 bond is reasonable,” ordered Dimlich.
Dimlich said the trial would likely be set before September and that a pre-trial hearing is set for July 7, 2022. The state has asked permission to examine the contents of a cell phone deputies had confiscated.