Sexual Assault Defendant Changes Plea

Newcastle man admits to sexual assault of a minor.
Newcastle man admits to sexual assault of a minor.

53-year-old Richard Hill, of Newcastle, went before Judge John Fenn in 4th Judicial District Court Tuesday to change his plea on a 2nd Degree Sexual Assault charge. In August of 2009, Hill plead "Not Guilty" when arraigned on the charge, which alleged that Hill had had sexual contact with a girl between the ages of 13 and 15.

Tuesday, Hill's attorney, Erin Wardell, told Judge Fenn that Hill wanted to change his plea to "No Contest" because of possible pending civil cases. Also, she said that Hill did not feel he would receive a favorable jury trial. Judge Fenn denied the motion to plead "No Contest," but agreed to a Motion to Plead "Guilty."

Prosecutor for the State, County Attorney Matt Redle, told the judge that this change of plea was not pursuant to a plea agreement. He suggested that perhaps Hill should undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, which may or may not be helpful to the defendant, but which might help the Court in determining Hill's danger to society when it comes time to sentence him.

Judge Fenn questioned the value of having such an evaluation done, and said that he would not order it, but if Hill decided to have one on his own, that was up to him. Wardell said they are not wanting an evaluation done.

After that discussion, Hill officially plead guilty to having sexual intercourse with a then-13-year-old girl which left her pregnant. A paternity test on the baby proved that Hill had fathered the child.

Sentencing for Richard Hill is scheduled for June 30th. He will be held in the Sheridan County Detention Center until that time. At his August arraignment, Judge Fenn had set a $100,000 cash bond. Hill could receive 20 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both.

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