Richard pleads not guilty to assault

A Stillwater man pleaded not guilty to an assault charge at a hearing this morning in 10th Judicial District Court in Stillwater.

Eric Richard entered his plea during a brief omnibus hearing today. Richard is charged with first-degree assault in connection with a September incident at a downtown Stillwater nightspot in which Richard is accused of punching Adam McCloud during a dispute between the men.

Richard’s plea on the assault charge comes after murder charges against Richard were dropped in April by the Washington County Attorney’s Office. County Attorney Pete Orput said at that time the decision to drop the murder charges against Richard was made by his office after the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office could not determine if McCloud’s death was caused by injuries he sustained in the fight or when McCloud fell out of his bed at Regions Hospital in St. Paul and struck his head on the floor.

The original charges against Richard resulted from a Sept. 28 incident at Smalley’s Caribbean BBQ between Richard and McCloud. A probable cause statement said Richard and McCloud got into a dispute at the restaurant and restaurant security camera footage showed Richard punching McCloud and the victim falling back and hitting his head on the floor.

McCloud was taken to Regions for treatment of fractures to his nose, right orbital bone and skull and intercranial bleeding that caused respiratory failure. McCloud later suffered a series of strokes and died in October.

A pre-trial hearing in Richard’s case is 8:30 a.m. June 28 and a trial block has been set for 9 a.m. Sept. 23.

Bond and any conditions remain as previously set.