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Last updated 3:25AM ET
February 25, 2021
Huntsville Teen Charged as Adult in Slaying of Adoptive Mother
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Authorities said a 16-year-old girl who called police to report that someone killed her adoptive mother was charged as an adult in the slaying of the woman, who was found shot to death in her bed.

Jacquelyn Richardson is being held on $50,000 bond on a murder charge in the killing of Donna Louise Richardson, 45, of Toney, who previously was accused of domestic violence.

Court records do not give the name of any attorney representing the teenager, but a police officer said the youth denied killing the woman.

"This young lady maintains her innocence," Investigator Chad Brooks said in an interview Tuesday. "She has not told us why she did it, but we can prove she did."

Brooks said the teen called the sheriff's department around 11:30 p.m. Thursday to report the shooting, which occurred in a home in a new subdivision north of Huntsville.

"She called in as if an unknown offender had committed the offense, and we found evidence that that wasn't the case," Brooks told The Huntsville Times in a story Tuesday.

The woman suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Brooks said parts of the teenager's story did not match the evidence, including the location of the murder weapon.

Investigators believe the woman was killed with a small-caliber, semiautomatic handgun she kept for protection, the officer said.

The 16-year-old and a 13-year-old boy were removed from the home after Donna Richardson was arrested in February on domestic violence charges, including two counts of third-degree assault and one count of third-degree menacing, records show. Both children made abuse allegations.

Brooks said only the girl, at her own request, had been returned to the woman at the time of the killing. She and Richardson had been living peacefully since then, he said.

The boy and girl are not related by blood but acted like siblings, he said. At least one of the youths had run away from home, Brooks said, but details were not available.

Brooks said there was a "history of abuse" in the household, but it was unclear whether it was related to the shooting. Jacquelyn Richardson lived with the woman for 14 years.

"She referred to her as `Mom.' It's the only mother she has ever known," he said.

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