Murder sentence MondayPublished 8:48pm Thursday, October 10, 2013
A Washington man who pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge in August is slated to be sentenced in Beaufort County Superior Court Monday.
The charge to which Richard Leon Armstead, 25, pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 37 years in prison. Armstead has been jailed since his July 5, 2010, arrest in connection with the murder of his girlfriend and mother of his two young children, Miki Hatcher. The couple lived together in Chocowinity and according to neighbors’ statements at the time, continuous fighting escalated in the days leading up to the murder.
According to 2nd Judicial District Attorney Seth Edwards, it’s believed the couple’s children witnessed their mother’s beating death.
The medical examiner ruled cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head, but Hatcher had other injuries, as well, said Assistant District Attorney Ray Cameron during Armstead’s last court appearance.
“There were two broken ribs, multiple abrasions and lacerations, some of which appeared to have taken place before this incident,” he told the judge.
Sentencing on the case was postponed so that Armstead’s attorney could fully explore mitigating factors to inform the judge’s ruling, though Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. said it was unlikely mitigating factors would carry much weight with the District Attorney’s office considering the charge against Armstead was knocked down from first-degree murder to second-degree murder in the plea arrangement with the state.