Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Justin Richardson

Justin Sheldon Richardson

New York City, New York

April 2, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
25 Army Spc

 

 Killed by a Ft. Hood soldier  outside a Denny's Restaurant.

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August 2013
To My SonJustin Sheldon Richardson
Your soul is resting in peace

Son, I will miss you until eternity and then some. I am sorry that I witness a time that I will never again see one of my wonders of the world with us. I ache with pain in my soul, with every step I take. We, your family, are so proud of you—you’re our hero. Sometimes the reality of this hits me so hard you would think I alone could be a whole pack of coyotes the way I howl from my hurt. 
I’ve always admired your whole being. You were amazing. It made me feel so good to know that you knew how much I loved you, because your mother-in-law told me that you had told them that you were my favorite child. I love all my children equally, but I love that you were so confident of my love for you. You knew your mother adored you. I think your other siblings thought that way of themselves, too. 
We will always be there for Justin Jr. as much as his mother allows us. God bless you, son.
With eternal love from your mother, Cheryl Doreen Richardson ♥ 
From US Army army.mil 04/11/11:

Family, Soldiers honor Spc. Richardson
April 11, 2011

By Spc. Justin Naylor, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div. 
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers, civilians and family members gathered together to mourn the loss of Spc. Justin Richardson at a memorial service held in his honor April 7. 

Born in Bronx, N.Y., Richardson joined the Army in 2005; completing advanced individual training as a heavy vehicle driver. Following his graduation, Richardson was assigned to A Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Richardson deployed with his company to Iraq in October 2006 and was assigned to the gun truck and transportation platoon where he provided secure ground escort to members of the Department of State provincial reconstruction team and logistical service support to numerous forward operating bases. 

"He was a leader and role model for others to follow," said Lt. Col. Matthew Ruedi, commander of 15th BSB. "He was the type of person everyone could count on and always wanted to have on their team."

"He was a larger than life character with a big sense of humor," explained Cpt. Adam Bradford, A Co. commander. "One day he was accepting an award from Lt. Col. Ruedi after our truck rodeo for being one of the best in the company, and he got up in front of the formation and graciously thanked his mother, father, wife and son. Then, literally, five minutes later he completed his speech by thanking every person, place and thing in sight of him at the time. I think he stopped at the tire iron he used in the competition."

"In fact, the only thing bigger about Rich than his physique and his sense of humor was his heart," he continued. "His heart was bigger than New York City and it poured unconditional love for his family and his fellow Soldiers. He always put others before himself, and his friendship between his brothers-in-arms was both genuine and unshakeable, and that is how I will remember him."

"He touched everybody's life that he came in contact with," said Sgt. Steve Martin, a Soldier who served with Richardson. "He knew how to make people happy by entertaining them. He made people feel welcome and accepted."

"He was truly an angel put on earth by God; he will always be with us in spirit."

Richardson's military awards include the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal and Army Service Ribbon. Richardson is survived by his wife Kearsten; son, Justin Jr.; and mother Sheryl Richardson.

From Austin News KXAN kxan.com 04/04/11:

Soldier dies from chest gunshot wound
Circumstances under investigation

Updated: Monday, 04 Apr 2011, 12:07 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 04 Apr 2011, 12:07 PM CDT

FORT HOOD, Texas (KXAN) - Fort Hood officials have released the name of a soldier who died from a gunshot wound to the chest April 2.

Specialist Justin S. Richardson, 25, whose home is Bronx, N.Y., died at Carl R. Darnall Medical Center , Fort Hood.

Richardson joined the military in December 2005 as a motor transport operator and was assigned to Company A, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, since September 2010.

Richardson deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from January 2008 to January 2009.

Richardson's awards and decorations include:
* Army Commendation Medal
* Army Good Conduct Medal
* National Defense Service Medal
* Iraqi Campaign Medal
* Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
* Overseas Service Ribbon
* Army Service Ribbon
Circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation. 

From The Army Times armytimes.com 04/04/11:

Hood soldier charged with shooting, killing GI

The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Apr 4, 2011 18:32:32 EDT

KILLEEN, Texas — A Fort Hood soldier has been charged with murder in the weekend shooting death of a fellow soldier.

Michael Fitzgerald Reese, 27, remained jailed Monday on $1 million bond, according to Bell County Jail records.

Spc. Justin Sheldon Richardson, 25, was shot in the chest early Saturday morning in a restaurant parking lot a few blocks from the post, Killeen police say. Witnesses helped investigators identify a suspect, who had fled, police said.

Reese was arrested Saturday afternoon and charged with murder.

Jail records do not indicate whether Reese has an attorney.

Killeen police haven’t revealed a motive but said witnesses reported that the men were arguing before Richardson was shot.

Richardson was from the Bronx borough of New York City and had served in Iraq.

From The Killeen Daily Herald kdhnews.com 07/30/13:

Former Fort Hood soldier pleads guilty to Denny’s murder
Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 2:31 pm | Updated: 11:19 pm, Tue Jul 30, 2013.

Philip Jankowski | Herald staff writer

BELTON — The trial of a 30-year-old former Fort Hood soldier accused of murdering of another soldier outside of a Killeen Denny’s restaurant in 2011 ended abruptly Tuesday afternoon when the accused opted to plead guilty.

Michael Fitzgerald Reese, a former member of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was convicted of murder following his decision to halt his trial and confess to the shooting.

Reese killed Spc. Justin Sheldon Richardson, 25, in the early morning hours of April 2, 2011, following an argument inside the Denny’s at Fort Hood Street and Central Texas Expressway.

The crime was witnessed by several patrons and staff, many of whom identified Reese as the shooter during Tuesday’s testimony. The prosecution was in the process of putting on its case when Reese notified the court he wished to enter a guilty plea.

Reese has remained in jail since his arrest. The Army discharged him after demoting him to private on May 14.

Reese entered an open plea, leaving a range of punishment from five years to life in prison. He will be sentenced by 27th District Court Judge John Gauntt on Sept. 16.

Reese shot Richardson twice following a confrontation inside the restaurant. According to court documents and testimony, several people were sitting at a table when Reese and another man approached them.

Reese was dating one of the females at the table and had been out with the group at a club earlier.

He was angry with the woman, according to court documents, and ordered her to get up. She refused.

Richardson then intervened, attempting to calm the situation, a employee of the restaurant testified. Security and a waitress managed to get Reese outside, where he continued to speak with Richardson.

Witnesses told the court it never appeared as though Richardson intended to attack Reese. He then shot Richardson twice and ran from the scene. Richardson died in the restaurant’s parking lot.

Both prosecutor Ed Vallejo and Reese’s defense attorney, Michael White, said a defendant deciding to enter in a guilty plea once trial has started is unique. It happened during the first trial of “laundry room rapist” Bradric Givante Dwarren Fransaw in 2011.

The court had taken a brief recess as a comfort break for the jury, which was selected Monday, when White notified the court of Reese’s intentions.

But prior to court being recessed, Vallejo asked for Richardson’s widow, Kirsten Richardson, to put testimony on the record.

Kirsten Richardson told the court she had known Justin Richardson for most of her life. The two went to the same high school, lived in the same public housing building in the Bronx, New York City, and began dating when they were both 15 years old.

Kirsten Richardson, 25, said she had known nothing of her life without her husband. She became very emotional when speaking about their 5-year-old son growing up without him.

“My son loses memories of him daily, and I have to remind him,” she told the court. “He will never remember my husband’s laugh or his face or all of the great things that he was. He’ll never know it, he’ll never know it. They took everything from us, everything.”

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