Fairmont man pleads no contest in murder case involving girlfriend’s young son

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A suspect connected to a 2021 murder case involving his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son has entered a plea agreement.

During his trial Monday, Walter Richardson, 36, pleaded no contest. With that plea, the charge of child abuse by a parent or guardian resulting in death was dismissed, however, Richardson still faces life in prison for the first-degree murder charge.

Court documents state that on March 4, 2021, Richardson took the child to the hospital for the abuse in Fairmont. His charges were then upgraded to first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death after the child died on March 8, 2021.

Richardson requested there to be no jury in his trial and that was granted by the judge. It’s expected that Judge David Janes will look at evidence in the case on Tuesday to determine whether Richardson’s life sentence will be with or without mercy.

The child’s mother, Ashlee Allen, was sentenced back in January for charges of child neglect with injury, gross child neglect creating risk of injury or death, and gross child neglect resulting in death. Allen knew the abuse by Richardson was taking place but did not report it.

Two former CPS workers, who also failed to report abuse in the case, pleaded no contest back in January 2022. Breeana Bizub and Tabetha Phillips-Friend agreeing to pay restitution.