Timothy Richards, 42, is being sought by authorities after he was found missing from his bunk early Sunday.
The Alabama Department of Corrections says Richards wasn’t found at his assigned bunk and couldn’t be located during an inmate count around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Alabama DOC also said all appropriate law enforcement agencies were notified at the time of the escape and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task force is assisting with locating and apprehending Richards.
Richards was sentenced to life in prison in February 2000 in Walker County. He pled guilty for his role in a murder plot with his wife, Shonda Johnson. Richards was Johnson’s fifth husband and admitted to killing her third husband, Randy McCullar by shooting him in the parking lot of a Jasper church in 1997. Johnson is currently on Alabama’s death row after being sentenced to death in January 2000.
Richards had a parole hearing scheduled for May 2013.
Walker County Sheriff John Mark Tirey said his office has been in contact with the Alabama DOC and is on “high alert.”
“We’ve been checking local addresses that would be familiar to him — the homes of family members and places he’s been associated with in the past,” Tirey said.
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair, who prosecuted Richards as chief assistant DA in 2000, said the news of the escape was concerning.
“I’m concerned for the family of the victim and for the members of my office that helped prosecute the case,” he said.
According to the Alabama DOC website, the State Cattle Ranch provides inmate labor to the State Lands Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the purposes of upkeep and land management, while also supporting local communities to assist in maintenance, construction, and other civil projects. Alcoholic and Narcotics Anonymous classes, religious services, financial planning, and fatherhood initiatives are all part of the current programming offered at the ranch.
“The cattle ranch shouldn’t be a place where the state puts murderers,” Adair said. “This is an example of what happens when law enforcement continues to be cut in the state budgets.”
Richards is a white male, 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing 230 pounds, with blue eyes and blonde hair.
Tirey said Richards is a convicted murderer and should be considered extremely dangerous. He said anyone with information regarding Richards’ whereabouts should contact the Walker County Sheriff’s Office at 205-302-6464.