This is the Tenth installment of the Last Meals series from Historydojo. Please find the Ninth installment here. Start the series at the beginning here.
“Miguel A. “Silky” Richardson, 46, was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a motel security guard.” ∗
Silky Richardson doesn’t stand out in any special way from any other murderer on death row. His crime seems to be like many other horrific crimes assigned to receive the death penalty as a form of justice.
His story seems odd, especially when you consider his reason, and especially when you consider his final request. Before we can get to that, however, we need to know his story.
“In March 1979, a motel desk clerk in San Antonio received a complaint from a guest that someone was trying to break into her room. The clerk sent two security guards, John Ebbert and Howard Powers, to investigate.
A few minutes later, the guest called the clerk again to say that she thought she heard gunshots. Less than an hour later, the bodies of Ebbert and Powers were found in a stairwell. They had been shot, and one of their empty wallets was found nearby.”∗
The killing of these security guards was, like many other murders covered in this series on Last Meals, completely unnecessary. Richardson was up to no good, but did not intend to murder anyone before events got out of control. Richardson is very much out of control.
“A few days after the murders, Miguel Richardson, then 24, was apprehended in Denver, Colorado with two underage prostitutes. At Richardson’s trial, the two prostitutes, and a third underage prostitute that was with Richardson on the night of the killings, testified. They said that the four of them were staying at the Holiday Inn across the hall from the woman who reported the break-in attempt.
They said that Richardson had commented on the expensive jewelry she appeared to be wearing. One of them testified that Richardson told her that he had disguised himself in a woman’s wig and clothing and was trying to break into the woman’s room when he was interrupted by the two security guards.”∗
So it was a simple robbery. It might have ended at that, but then the security guards found him and tried to take him back to the office.
“The guards were escorting him from the front desk when his .38-caliber pistol fell from his waistband to the floor. Richardson grabbed the gun, handcuffed one of the guards, took their money, shot and killed both of them, and returned to his room.”∗
The gun accidentally fell out. The momentary surprise altered the reaction of Richardson and the security guards, apparently. With the gun now revealed, Richardson was moved to act. out of panic he took control over the guards. The surge of adrenaline and his mental state combined to steer him toward a very bad decision. Robbing the guards may have been his only logical step. Money seemed to be his motivation. Murder still did not seem logical at this point.
He later bragged that the men begged for their lives. He shot them anyway. This heartless act may have been sadistic, but it also may have been born of anger, resentful of the weakness and intoxicated by the sudden reversal of power. Richardson was bi-polar. His mental health was easily influenced by instantaneous impulsiveness.
What happens next seems to indicate that he wasn’t thinking clearly, and therefore may give context to his sudden decision to kill the guards.
“At Richardson’s request, one of his prostitutes went back to the scene and wiped fingerprints away with a towel, then returned to the room and disposed of the spent cartridges by flushing them down the toilet.
Another of the prostitutes testified that Richardson had boasted to her about killing the guards after he took their money.”∗
This attempt to cover up the killings, yet remaining in the area does not make much sense. Soon Richardson will flee the state with his young ladies, hoping to hide in Colorado. Why he did not flee to Mexico might also be evidence of his limited mental state. Travelling to Colorado with under aged prostitutes doesn’t seem to make much sense, especially if he was guilty of two murders and a robbery.
But his mental delusion seems to have only just begun. Not having been violent before, Richardson became more violent after he was arrested and incarcerated, awaiting trial.
“Richardson attacked a jailer in April 1980 in Denver, while he was pending extradition to Texas. In June 1980, he stabbed a deputy sheriff in the neck with a homemade shank, tried to shoot him, and attempted to escape.”∗
His mental health never seemed to be an issue at trial, although he did claim it as a reason for his actions. It is logical to think that someone on a bi-polar high might act impulsively, and in an extremely illogical manner. Richardson certainly did all of that. His later violence could easily be an extension of the stress of living in prison, or be related to an undiagnosed mental illness like bi-polar. It makes sense, without excusing his murders.
“Richardson’s appeals centered around his competency at the time of the crime and his competency to be executed. He claimed that he suffered from a bipolar disorder at the time of the killings.
He also claimed that the state of Texas was medicating him in order to keep him mentally competent so that he could be executed.”∗
The argument that the State was keeping him sane in order to execute him is an interesting one. The idea that he should be left to his illness would not seem to excuse him from what he did, not should the State allow him to be mentally ill if they have the ability to provide him relief while he is in prison.
It doesn’t seem to have mattered. Richardson was not in full control of his senses. He never seemed to understand what was the reality around him, often imagining things that were not there, and living a fantasy existence.
“At his execution, Richardson spoke for nearly eight minutes, speaking repeatedly of love. “I go out loving everyone and everything … I shed tears of love – may they nourish everyone.” He also said, “I am a minister of love.” As the lethal drugs began flowing, he said that it was a “good day to die. Take me, God.” He was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m.”∗
This odd behavior stands out from other executions, where the condemned usually has little to say. Richardson had the idea that someone would listen and that his audience mattered. His self importance is undeniable, and is evidence of his break from reality. He behaved as if he was a sacrificial lamb, speaking almost as if he was dying for the benefit of others. This god complex would seem to fit the mental delusion he lived under most of his life.
“After the execution, John Ebbert’s wife noted that Richardson did not apologize for the murders, nor did he ask for forgiveness. However, she did say that justice had been served. “It was a promise I made to my husband 22 years ago when he was lying in his coffin that I was going to see this through to the end. This is the end.”∗
Executed June 26, 2001.
His final meal included a cake with the date 2/23/90 written on top. No explanation of this date is known. It has been speculated that Richardson thought it was his wedding anniversary. Richardson was in prison, awaiting execution, on this day. It makes little sense that a significant event might have occurred on that day. Like everything else in his fantasy world, however, the day 2/23/90 meant something only he could understand.
“Chocolate birthday cake with ‘2/23/90’ written on top, seven pink candles, one coconut, kiwi fruit juice, pineapple juice, one mango, grapes, lettuce, cottage cheese, peaches, one banana, one delicious apple, chef salad without meat and with thousand island dressing, fruit salad, cheese, and tomato slices.”
∗Amarillo Globe News