PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Former Pittsburgh mayoral candidate A.J. Richardson was sentenced Thursday for dozens of false 911 calls last year.
In July, Richardson was convicted on charges of reckless endangerment, harassment, false reports to law enforcement and retaliation against a witness or victim. Jurors acquitted him of two counts, including one felony.
Today, he was sentenced to 3½ to 7 years in jail. Prior to being sentenced, Richardson said he fears for his life in jail.
Prosecutors accused the two of 128 false 911 calls from their home over a 22-day span in 2014. They also claimed Richardson orchestrated the series of prank calls to 911, some of which were allegedly made by his kids. The incidents cost the city thousands of dollars.
Police testified at the sentencing for Richardson that their encounters with him usually involved drama and abuse – towards them.
More than 100 calls claiming some sort of emergency were traced to the Richardson home say police, and the response meant that others with real needs for help were not being helped during those calls.
Sgt.James Glick testified it took a toll on his personal life:
“I adopted an infant that year,” Glick testified, “and spent more time at the Richardson home than my own home.”
When Richardson himself got a chance to speak he said he felt his life was in danger in the Allegheny County Jail and asked for mercy.
But although police argued for 2 1/2 to five years, Judge Anthony Mariani sentenced him to 3 1/2 to 7 years, calling Richardson and danger to the community.
The judge and another officer said they believed the calls started after Richardson was arrested in an earlier case and that the calls were retaliation.
Richardson’s wife Felicia, who was sentenced to two years’ probation for her role doesn’t agree and still maintains her family’s innocence, claiming the calls were electronically spoofed.
“No idea who would have done it,” she said after the hearing, “no idea what their intentions might have been, which are negative intentions. I don’t know I don’t know who’s doing this.”
She, a former paralegal, and her sons no longer live in the city
“She lost her job because of this arrest,” said her defense attorney Erika Kreisman. “She has no record at all and now she’s working at Goodwill at $8 an hour, so she’s been brought way down because of this case,” Kreisman said.