Harrison County

Air Force veteran said he was defending himself and a jury believed him

Harvill P. Richardson Sr.
Harvill P. Richardson Sr.

A jury Thursday acquitted a Biloxi man of murder in the October 2009 shooting death of a man who was staying at his home.

Harvill Richardson Sr. was first convicted in the Oct. 20, 2009, killing of Rudy Quillon, 55, at Richardson’s home on Old Highway 67 in Biloxi, but the Supreme Court overturned the 2011 conviction.

The Supreme Court ruled the court erred when it did not allow a jury to hear a self-defense claim to show Richardson’s state of mind at the time of the killing. The high court said the state also erred by arguing Quillon’s violent criminal history could not be used in Richardson’s defense.

After the higher court ruling, a judge freed Richardson on bond pending the outcome of further action in the case.

Richardson’s attorney, Michael Crosby, filed the successful appeal.

“Now that we have finally ended the longest-lasting nightmare in history with the vindication of my client for both the murder charge and the manslaughter charge, it’s our turn to go on the offensive,” Crosby said. “I intend to seek compensation on behalf of my client for the pain and suffering he endured as a result of the wrongful incarceration for 41 horrific months in prison. There is no amount of money in the world that would be sufficient, but I assure you that I will fight for every penny to try to make up for what he endured until he finally got a fair trial.”

They met at church

Quillon was homeless when Richardson and his wife met him at a church and offered to let him move into their home temporarily, but then Quillon’s behavior led to him being “increasingly unwelcome” at the Richardson home.

Prosecutors alleged Richardson had prompted the alcohol-fueled shooting.

But Quillon had bragged to the couple that he had been a gang member in San Diego and had killed a cellmate and executed a woman he described as a snitch. In addition, Quillon had also allegedly warned he would hurt anyone who upset him.

No longer welcome

After the killing, Richardson told Biloxi police Quillon had started looking at pornography on the couple’s computer and said he wanted to have sex with Richardson’s wife.

Richardson said he tried to get Quillon to leave but he refused. On the day of the killing, Richardson said Quillon went to a shed on the property, then came out with one hand behind his back and headed straight to Richardson. Richardson told police he fired a warning shot, then a second shot, which hit Quillon in the stomach.

Crosby said Richardson is relieved a jury believed him when he said he was acting in self defense.

Prior to the killing, Crosby said, Richardson was enjoying his life as a retired member of the Air Force and a family man who was active in his church. He has no felony record.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45