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April 4, 2013

Man gets 7 years for threat to judge

By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star

---- — A 36-year-old Bainbridge man who threatened a Chenango County Family Court judge and social workers was convicted Wednesday of making a terroristic threat, a crime that could land him in prison for up to seven years.

Michael D. Richardson was prosecuted by Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride, who said the jury deliberated about 90 minutes Tuesday and another four hours Wednesday before convicting Richardson.

Richardson allegedly made the threats to then-Family Court Judge W. Howard Sullivan in July 2012 in a letter from jail to his mother-in-law, McBride said.

In the letter, Richardson wrote that he was inclined to walk up to the judge and “place a .45 slug in between his eyes before jumping back into a stolen car.” He also made intimidating references to child-services workers, saying “these county offices are way too easy for me to get my hands on.”

Richardson also claimed he could acquire explosives from a New Jersey resident.

McBride said Richardson was apparently concerned that the judge — who retired at the end of 2012 — would not force his children to visit him while he was locked up.

Richardson had also been prosecuted in 2009 after authorities said he assaulted his wife, and was taken into custody after a standoff in the village of Bainbridge. He was also implicated in a burglary that year, they said.

After news of the conviction was posted on the Chenango Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Courtney Sullivan of Norwich, representing herself as the judge’s daughter, commented on the posting: “My dad can now relax.”

Richardson is scheduled to be sentenced June 4.