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UC man enters not guilty plea on weapons charge

UC man enters not guilty plea on weapons charge

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
A preliminary hearing has been set for January in Fulton County (Ky.) District Court for an Obion County man accused of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Ricky Lewis Richards, 47, of Union City was arraigned shortly before 10 this morning in District Court in Hickman, Ky., on a single charge of convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
He entered a plea of not guilty on the Class C felony offense during a brief appearance before District Judge Hunter Whitesell, who then set Richards’ preliminary hearing for Jan. 8 at 1:30 p.m.
Richards was arrested on the weapons offense about 5:30 a.m. Nov. 10 in the lower Hickman bottom area of Fulton County. He was allegedly in possession of a loaded muzzleloader rifle and was believed to be deer hunting at the time, according to a citation issued by a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer.
Richards had been sentenced in Obion County in connection with a 2008  fatal shooting on a wildlife refuge. He 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 Obion County 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 in June 2009 in Obion County, Richards was sentenced to two years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, 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.
Burnett’s widow, Pam Burnett, and brother and sister-in-law, Perry and Linda Burnett, were in attendance at this morning’s brief arraignment in Fulton County District Court.
Richards is free as he awaits the next scheduled court appearance.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 11.27.12

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