RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A plea deal entered into by the commonwealth and a key witness in a high profile murder trial will stand. That's the decision handed down by a judge Monday afternoon during a sentencing hearing for Alphonzo Richardson.
The Commonwealth's Attorney for Richmond wanted a judge to void the agreement -- claiming that Richardson lied while testifying in the murder case against Michael Solomon.
After hours of testimony by several witnesses a judge found in favor of Richardson.
During the sentencing hearing prosecutors called Richardson a manipulative liar.
In October, the commonwealth entered into a plea agreement with Richardson. The agreement required Richardson to be truthful, cooperative and to testify for the state in the murder case against Michael Solomon.
Richardson admitted to helping Solomon transport the body of Tameika Claiborne -- who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend, Michael Solomon. During Solomon's trial in January prosecutors say Richardson lied while on the stand about his role in helping to get rid of the body and about the life of the victim's son, 3-year-old Malik, being in jeopardy.
"I don't think Solomon ever said to him that the kid got to go. There was no one familiar with Solomon and Malik who feared any harm coming to Malik at the hands of Solomon," said Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney, Mike Herring.
But a judge disagreed with the state and found in favor of Richardson.
His attorney, Todd Stone, says his client has been vindicated.
"It's a great day for Richardson. It's good karma. He stepped out there because he wanted to help the child," said Stone.
The judge ordered that the plea agreement entered into by Richardson and the state be upheld. That means Richardson will not go back to jail.
Nicole Bell: "What's your reaction -- your husband is coming home?"
"I'm happy. Very happy," said Richardson's wife of 14 years.
In court a judge sentenced Richardson to 5 years for helping to conceal a body and 12 months for child neglect. The sentences were suspended.