After almost two hours of heart wrenching, tear-filled testimony from families on both sides of the case, Eric Kaprice Richard II, 23, was sentenced Dec. 10 to six years and two months in prison for an attack against Adam McCloud, who later died.
In September, Richard pleaded guilty to first-degree assault against 29-year-old McCloud, of Bayport.
The assault took place in Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar Sept. 28, 2012. Bar surveillance video shown in court during the sentencing showed Richard and McCloud dancing at the bar, when McCloud apparently accidentally knocked a drink out of Richard’s hand. The recording included what sounded like an argument off-camera when the pair goes to the bar. Then the footage showed Richard charging McCloud, punching him multiple times, and knocking him to the ground.
“We know this was a brutal attack,” Prosecutor Karin McCarthy told the court. “The defendant came at him with his fists flying and the full force of his body. Adam McCloud paid for that spilled drink with his life.”
Richard was initially charged with manslaughter and second-degree murder without intent because McCloud suffered skull fractures and intracranial bleeding. Those charges were dropped later, when it was determined that McCloud fell out of bed at Regions Hospital in St. Paul and died after a series of strokes. The medical examiner could not attribute the death to the beating.
“I would give anything to hear (Adam) laugh one more time,” McCloud’s sister Tara Odebrecht said in a victim statement. “He cared about people. He was a friend to those who didn’t have many. There were two friends that he made as a young adult. Mom was skeptical of them, but he was fiercely loyal, and these men became some of the most amazing men I know. Adam was always quick with a smile and a laugh. He changed many people’s lives. I was proud of who he was and how he impacted people.”
“There are no words to describe the pain we’ve been through,” Odebrecht continued, “My younger brother will never marry and won’t have children to be able to carry on our family name.”
She added that while in the hospital McCloud asked his family to seek justice for him.
“Over the past year we’ve asked to get the justice he asked for, and actions have consequences,” Odebrecht said. “I ask the court to take this into consideration. I hope Eric takes this experience to find his purpose and better the world.”
Speaking on behalf of the Richard family, Sonyia Granville shared a bit about Richard.
“This past year we watched and listened to things that were said about Eric that were very difficult to swallow, and I wanted to tell you about the Eric we know,” Granville said. “He is a big brother who takes the time to talk about respect and honesty with his siblings, the only person who will listen to my 15-year-old with ADHD talk for hours, an uncle who rolls around on the floor with his nieces and nephews, and a son that sometimes still lays his head on his mother’s lap. On June 3, 2011, he helped rescue a child from a vehicle, participates in various volunteer efforts, and will literally give you the shirt off his back. He’s not a malicious man. He’s been very honest ever since he was younger, and he’s willing to accept the consequences for his actions. We’ve had many talks over the past year, and he has no intention of ever repeating the events of Sept. 28. There are many families searching for justice in this courtroom today, but there will be no sighs of relief at the end of this hearing, nor can we give Mr. McCloud back his life. There are no winners in this courtroom today. Thank you for your consideration as you make another tough decision on a young man’s life.”
Richard’s attorney Krista Marks, citing Richard’s efforts to remain law-abiding, asked that Ekstrum sentence him to probation. But prosecutor Karin McCarthy alleged Richard caused a traumatic brain injury that led to McCloud’s death a few days later in Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Richard addressed the court before sentencing to apologize to McCloud’s family and friends.
“I’m truly sorry,” he said. “I never meant for any of this to happen. I really do apologize. Please know you have my deepest condolences.”
“There are no winners, no matter what I do here today,” Judge William Eckstrum said before sentencing. “This has been a real and grievous loss. Mr. Richard will also experience a loss, but it will be nothing compared to what the McCloud family has … I have no doubt that you are a person with a lot of promise. I hope you live a good life. I want that for you, and I would have wanted that for Adam, too.”
Richard’s family and friends broke into tears upon hearing the judgment, and with a final tearful “I Love you” to his family he was taken into custody.
Contact Avery Cropp at firstname.lastname@example.org