Three family members of slain Aiken Officer Scotty Richardson spoke in court Feb. 2 before cop killer Stephon Carter was given a life sentence plus thirty years in the killing of Richardson and shooting of Officer Travis Griffin.
Below are the full statements they read in court as Carter prepared to be sentenced in the 2011 murder.
(Photo shows brother Ken Richardson (from left), cousin Gerry Owen, mother Patsy Richardson and wife Amelyn Richardson.)
“Me and my children are living a life sentence of heart break and emptiness.”
Statement by Amelyn Richardson, wife of Officer Scotty Richardson:
“People called him a hero. A police officer killed in the line of duty. People connect him with the tragedy that shook a whole town. I called him my best friend, my husband, and the father of our three beautiful boys Zander, Chase, and Maddox.
Scott and I met on January 2nd, 2002 in Tampa, Florida, after the Outback Bowl. You see he was a huge Gamecock fan and watching his favorite team win brought joy and pride in being a Carolina fan. Who would have thought that he would meet his future wife after Carolina beat Ohio State? I knew when we first met that there was something special about him.
He was so polite, a perfect southern gentleman, something you don’t see often in a city in Florida. We were inseparable after that night, he became my best friend. We dated for a few years, living eight hours apart. Despite that distance, we talked on the phone every single day. After two years, I managed to talk him into leaving his home town and everything he knew and loved to be with me in Florida. Scott in Florida didn’t last long, though. After a few months and a few horrible hurricanes, we decided to move to South Carolina.
Scott wanted to be home. Aiken was where he belonged. He got a job with the Aiken Department of Public Safety. It was the career he had always wanted. He was proud to be in law enforcement. In public safety part of his duties included being a fireman. He really enjoyed that aspect of his job. Everyone I have met in Aiken has said nothing but good things about him. Even people that he had pulled over during a routine traffic stop and written tickets for said he was a nice guy. How often do you hear that about police officers? I worried about him and how dangerous his job was, but I always thought, “Thank goodness he is in Aiken, a safe place to be.” I think about it now and how naive I was. I didn’t really think anything would or could ever happen to him. You see, Scott never ever talked about his job. Never brought it home. He would drive home to Columbia after a long shift and once home, ask about my day and I remember I would just go on and on about my crazy day, which in no way compared to his. But, Scott always sat there and listened to me. He was so selfless and so thoughtful of my feelings. He didn’t want me to worry about him.
Scott was also a compassionate person willing to help people no matter who they were. We had this elderly neighbor who lived across the street from us. She lived all alone and really took a liking to Scott. Whatever she needed he was there for her, whether it is grabbing something in her pantry that is out of reach, or just being someone for her to sit and talk with. It was never a chore or out of his way to help her out. He would also take time to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Helping out in his community was very important to him. Also important to Scott were his friends. When a fellow officer who was also a marine, was deployed to Afghanistan, he reassured his friend that his family would be taken care of while away serving our country. Scott would stop by the house to make sure that his wife, a close friend of ours, and dog were okay and that he was there if she needed anything. When Scott found out that his friend was coming home, he and other friends wanted to make sure that their buddy received a hero’s welcome. They had pulled together and worked really hard to ensure that their friend’s yard was cut and cleaned and that his truck was in pristine condition. His friend’s wife was very grateful that Scott had watched over her. It will be something she will always remember.
Everyone called Scott a hero, because he made the ultimate sacrifice. He was a hero for sure and the biggest one to his kids. Scott loved his boys more than anything and they adored their daddy. I had asked my oldest son Zander, who was only five at the time of his dad’s death, what made his daddy a hero. He said “daddy saved me from choking on a Dorito.” It must have meant a great deal to him because this is something that Zander will always remember about his dad.
With our conflicting work schedules, Scott was the parent to be home more often with the boys. He was the one to help the boys with their homework and to tuck them into bed at night. He spent quality time with the boys by taking them to the park, the zoo, and the river. It was a sight to see him with the boys. He would have the baby wrapped in a carrier around his body, another pushed in a stroller with one hand, while the other hand was holding the other child with a tight grip. He was a hands on dad, from feeding the boys, usually a Chick-fil-a, to cleaning after them and even being their personal barber.
I came home one night and found Scott laying on the couch with Maddox, our baby, on his chest and he had this smirk on his face. He had decided that the boys needed haircuts and gave them all a buzz cut. Not a favorite of mine, but I was okay with it after awhile, because the boys really loved it. It was the coolest thing to look like their daddy. The boys wanted to be just like him too.
Scott was an avid football fan, determined that his sons would grow up to play for the Gamecocks. He looked forward to when the boys were old enough to play for the Gamecocks. He looked forward to when the boys were old enough to play sports. Our boy’s play sports now and it is very difficult for me at times to watch dad’s on the sidelines cheering on their children. It is not fair that my children don’t have their dad here to watch. The worst part of this whole situation is that my children will never get the chance to know their father. He will not be here for when his sons will need their father the most. He will not see his sons turn into men. He will not be here to see his sons’ graduate, get married, and have children of their own. Scott was robbed of all these life opportunities. His boys were robbed of their life experiences with their father.
As for me, his wife, memories are all I have left of my husband. They were great memories. Scott was my soulmate. Right from the beginning we just seemed to click. He was a wonderful husband. I remember the very last time that I saw him alive I was getting ready to leave work around noon. He was outside changing our carport light because I wasn’t going to get home until after midnight. On my way out I told him that I loved him and gave him a kiss goodbye. I didn’t know that it would be our last one. Every day I wish I could turn back time and go back to that afternoon. But that is just a fantasy.
My reality is that me and my children are living a life sentence of heart break and emptiness. I am living with heartache, sadness, loneliness, and tears. It is very difficult to go to bed at night and get up in the morning to face my day. Sometimes I just want to hide away from the world. That is not who I was when Scott was alive. I used to look forward to each day. I can’t be outside the house without some anxiety and fear that something may happen to my family. This is not how I imagined my life would be. By this time I had pictured our family living in Aiken with Scott moving up the ranks at work, me working somewhere where I could come home and see my boys every day and be able to tuck them into bed every night.
Till this day, I can’t even think about Scott without falling apart. I think about our life together and how perfect it was. Sure we had our ups and downs but they were ours. Even after being together for as long as we were, I remember my heart would still flutter at the sight of him. We didn’t see each other as much as we wanted but I remember our last day off together, we were able to spend it together alone, thanks to our loving parents. It was just right before Christmas and we were shopping for the kids. Scott had worked extra shifts so that our boys would have a decent Christmas. It breaks my heart that he didn’t get to be here with us.
The next Christmas was extremely difficult. We were decorating our tree and when we were hanging our stockings I wasn’t sure what to do with Scott’s because I didn’t know how the kids would react. I remember looking at my sister for answers but it was my son, Chase, who told me to hang his dad’s because daddy was still a part of our family. Our children are so strong and Scott would have been so proud of them.
My life has definitely been impacted through this ordeal. In the early morning of, December 21, 2011, I became a widow, a single parent, having to raise a one year old, four year old, and five year old all by myself. I did not deserve this. Our boys did not deserve this. Scott did not deserve this.
Scott was only 33 years old with so much more life ahead of him. He had hopes and dreams. He was needed by his family. He was needed by his friends. He was needed by his community. He did not deserve to die the way he did.
“Stephon, you will never know what you did to our family when you took Scott from us.”
Statement by Patsy Richardson, mother of Officer Scotty Richardson:
Scott was more than my son, a brother, husband, father, friend, police officer, firefighter, he was a miracle. On the day of his arrival, the doctor said if it had been 12 more minutes, neither he nor I would have survived. So on August 14, 1978, my miracle baby was born. He was seven pounds, 14 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long, and had blue eyes and brown hair. Oh, how he already seemed to be the wonderful man he grew up to be in such a little body, only to be taken away in seconds.
The person who took him away from us will never know how wonderful Scott was and if you had only been respectful to him as he represented the City of Aiken Public Safety Department. If you had only given him the chance to talk to you, to help you figure out what was wrong in your life, he would have. What could possibly lead you to do this, but you chose the wrong path, by shooting my son. You will never know how many people that deadly night has affected and will still affect in the years to come as his family grows.
Scott was a very quiet, loving person who would do anything for anyone that he knew. Scott grew up being picked on by friends and some family because he was a chunky little boy and did not like for anybody to mess with his hair. He persevered over these obstacles. He started playing football as an elementary student and continued until he graduated high school. He then went on to USC-A where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology.
He was your typical young man. He liked to drive fast. His driver’s license was even down to having just one point left. So he had to man up and start paying for his own vehicle insurance. I don’t think our family friend knew about that when she let him drive her T-bird for his prom when he asked her.
Scott married the love of his life in 2005, Amelyn. He was a loving husband to Amelyn as she was equally a loving wife to Scott. They have three wonderful boys. His boys knew that their daddy loved them very much. Before he walked out to go to work, he would tell his boys, “give daddy a kiss” and they in turn would say, “you going to get the bad guys tonight” and he would say, “yes”.
Well on December 20, 2011, the bad guy got their daddy and his kisses to his boys came to a dead stop. On December 21, 2011, came the daunting task that no mother ever wants to say to her children. She had to tell her young boys, four and three years old and 10 months old, that their daddy would not be coming home because the bad guy killed their Daddy. Although they were very young, they knew what their mother meant when she told them that their daddy had gone to heaven to be with Jesus and the Angels. No one will ever know what their mother had to go through when seeing the look on their faces.
Scott was a hands-on daddy. He spent his time with his boys when not working and loved playing with them. The boys miss their daddy very much. They have even commented, “I wish my daddy was here”. Yet at such a young age, they have to accept the fact that their daddy will never be home again. What an injustice you have done to his three young children, his family and his friends.
Stephon, you will never know what you did to our family when you took Scott from us. Our family will never be the same again.
“We continue to expect to wake up from this nightmare.”
Statement by Ken Richardson, brother of Officer Scotty Richardson:
On December 20, 2011, my world was turned upside down. I received the phone call that I thought I would never receive. I was told that my brother had been shot. On December 21, 2011, in the early morning hours, my brother died from the gunshot wound to the head.
Scotty was the best brother. He would do anything for me and for that matter anybody else that asked.
I never will understand why Scott wanted to be a police officer because I knew of the dangers involved, but that never swayed Scott away from the passion of being in public safety and helping our community. If you had only given him a chance to do his job, we would not be here in this courtroom, Scott would still be serving as police officer and he would have helped you. But you chose to do the unthinkable. You shot my brother and for that my life will forever be changed.
Scott was married to Amelyn and has three wonderful boys who will grow up without their father. He was the best dad, always involved in everything they did. I can’t imagine what life would be like without my dad, much less three young boys. I know they miss their daddy very much.
Uncle Scotty, as he was to my children, is missed by them so much. They miss having him come by to visit and play with them.
I, as many others, still cannot fathom that Scott is no longer with us. We continue to expect to wake up from this nightmare.
If only I had known that on December 20, 2011, he was going to work his last shift, drive the police car for the last time, love on his boys before he went to work, and then take his last breath on December 21, 2011, I wonder what I might would have said to him differently. I miss my brother and not a day goes by that I relive that dreadful night, the memories we made and what we would be doing now. But that is something I will never know because, you Stephon, took him away from me.
“At least, this murderer will never have an opportunity to terrorize the streets of Aiken again.”
Family Statement, presented during press conference after sentencing. Read by Gerry Owen, cousin of Officer Scotty Richardson:
Since December 21, 2011, the Richardson family has been living a nightmare that felt like it would never end. As we leave the courthouse today, we have a sense of relief and closure for which we have been longing. As you can imagine, there is some disappointment that Scotty’s murderer won’t receive the death penalty for his actions; however, we are at peace with the life sentence without parole. At least, this murderer will never have an opportunity to terrorize the streets of Aiken again.
We would like to thank Solicitor Thurmond, Deputy Solicitor Weeks, Deputy Solicitor Miller, the investigators and anyone else that worked countless hours to make sure justice was served. Additionally, we would like to thank our Victims Advocate, Angela. She was a wonderful resource and did her job in a very compassionate manner.
Lastly, we can’t forget the members of Aiken Public Safety, Scotty’s other family. From Chief Frommer to Chief Barranco to the men and women that put on the uniform every day to protect our City, we could not have made it through these last three plus years without you. We will never forget the many acts of kindness you have shown our family. You are part of the Richardson family!!
We know there is nothing that will bring Scotty back, but through his three wonderful boys, we can see a little bit of Scotty every day. Please continue to remember Amelyn in your daily prayers for the strength she needs to raise the boys.
Finally, we ask the press to respect our privacy and not request any interviews. We do not wish to reopen this wound.
The Richardson Family