Suspect in Claiborne case appears in court

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – There are new details in the murder of a Richmond mother. The man accused of helping to get rid of her body claims he got involved out of fear.

Alphonzo Richardson appeared in court Thursday morning to face a charge of concealment and disposal of a dead body in the murder of Tameka Claiborne. The charge was certified to a grand jury --while new information about Richardson's alleged role in the crime was also made public.

A Richmond detective testified that Richardson admitted to helping remove Claiborne's body from her home -- that he held her legs and feet, and helped to load her in a car.

Alphonzo Richardson's attorney describes his client as a family man who works to support his wife and five children. He says his client had nothing to do with the murder of Claiborne and only got involved when Claiborne's fiance, Michael Solomon, showed up at his home back in July.

Police say Solomon told Richardson that he'd just "killed Claiborne" and her three year old son, Malik, was still in the home and that Malik "had to go."

"Solomon came to his house. He had a knife on him. He got involved because he knew there was a young child there and he knew the child wouldn't stay alive if he didn't get involved," said Todd Stone, Richardson's attorney.

Prosecutors say Richardson and Solomon were co-workers, as well as, friends and that Richardson was more concerned with helping his buddy than helping Malik.

"After all of this he allows Solomon to come back to his home where his wife and children were sleeping and take a nap which suggest to me that this is a continuing pattern of accommodating a friend and not attending the needs of a 3-year-old," said Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney, Mike Herring.

Police say Claiborne was murdered in the home she shared with Solomon. A detective testified that a couch inside the home was saturated with blood and that blood was found on a computer. Police say Richardson admitted in a statement that he put a sheet over Claiborne's body.

Richardson's attorney says, his client feared for his life. Prosecutors say that's not the case.

Claiborne's son, Malik, was found wandering in a Chesterfield complex on July 20. Prosecutors say Claiborne was likely killed hours before her son was discovered. Claiborne's body was found on the banks of the James River.

Next month, a grand jury will decide if there's enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial. Richardson is currently being held at the Chesterfield County Jail.

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