Felon linked to 2008 shooting death of UC native faces weapons charge

Felon linked to 2008 shooting death of UC native faces weapons charge

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
An Obion County man sentenced in a 2008 fatal shooting on a wildlife refuge was arrested on a weapons charge over the weekend in Fulton County, Ky.
Ricky Lewis Richards, 47, of Union City was charged early Saturday with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to a citation issued by a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer.
The arrest on the offense was made at 5:30 a.m. in the lower Hickman bottom area of Fulton County Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife district supervisor and public affairs officer Sgt. Gary Clark of Paducah, Ky., confirmed today.
Clark, reading from a citation issued by a wildlife officer, said Richards was allegedly in possession of a loaded muzzleloader rifle and was believed to be deer hunting at the time.
Authorities reported Richards apparently was taken to the Fulton County Detention Center in Hickman, Ky., but an online search of the jail’s current inmates did not show him being held there. Fulton County jailer Ricky Parnell could not be reached for confirmation Tuesday or today.
The Messenger confirmed today that paperwork charging Richards with the offense has been submitted to Fulton County District Court in Hickman.
Richards had entered a guilty plea to a charge of criminally negligent homicide — a Class E felony — on June 1, 2009, in Obion County Circuit Court. The charge stemmed from the Nov. 15, 2008, shooting of Union City native John Burnett on a wildlife refuge near Walnut Log.
Burnett, a Paris resident who formerly lived in Obion County, was struck by a bullet from a high-powered rifle about 2 p.m. in a forested area of Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge. The unarmed Burnett and three other men and a dog were on their way to check on a duck blind they were rebuilding when the shooting took place, according to local authorities.
Burnett, 44, later died at a Memphis hospital as the result of complications from the injuries.
After entering the guilty plea before a judge in June 2009 in Obion County, Richards was sentenced to two years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections, with all of the time suspended except 90 days to be served in the Obion County Law Enforcement Complex.
His first year was to be supervised probation and his second year unsupervised probation, according to information from the Circuit Court clerk’s office at the time of sentencing.
A fine of $3,000 was also imposed as part of the sentence, The Messenger reported June 2, 2009.
Richards had initially been indicted by an Obion County grand jury on charges of reckless homicide and two counts of tampering with evidence. The second and third counts of the indictment, which were the tampering with evidence charges, were dismissed.
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Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 11.14.12

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