By Jeremy Los
June 6, 2011 – James Johnson, a cab driver who survived a violent assault by Michael Eugene Richardson, has shared details of his harrowing ordeal with East County Magazine. Richardson, a Poway auto shop owner, will soon face trial for the murders of his wife, Thao Richardson, his mother-in-law, Phan Lai, and a former girlfriend, Jovita Collaza.
Johnson had his fateful run-in with Mr. Richardson in 1975 while as a cab driver in North Carolina. Richardson shot Johnson multiple times, including once in the face. Johnson’s tale reveals the ruthless nature of Richardson, then 22, who had been discharged from Pope Air Force Base three months before the attack.
Authorities present evidence that defendant brutally killed wife and mother-in-law before “staging” accident in Lakeside
By Jeremy Los
May 26, 2011 (El Cajon) -- Judge Herbert J. Exarhosin ruled Thursday that evidence laid out during preliminary trial testimony is sufficient for Michael Richardson to stand trial for the murders of his wife, Thao Richardson, and mother-in-law, Phan Lai. He is also charge in the two-decades-old murder of Jovita Collazo and the statatutory rape of his then-17-year-old niece.
Testimony came from police, experts, and witnesses -- including Colazzo’s daughter who revealed that she, too, was sexually abused by Richardson but at a much younger age.
August 27, 2010 – Murder charges have been filed against Michael Richardson, who is accused of staging a June 29, 2010 car accident on Highway 67 in Lakeside to cover up the deaths of his wife and mother-in-law.
The bodies of his wife, Thao Richardson, and his mother-in-law, Phan Lai, were found in wreckage down an embankment, days after their deaths. As ECM previously reported.
By Miriam Raftery
July 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Michael Eugene Richardson, whose wife and mother-in-law have been identified as homicide victims in a staged car crash in Lakeside, has an extensive criminal past, investigations reveal. Court records in North Carolina indicate Richardson was convicted of robbing and shooting a cab driver in 1976. He served six years of a 30 year sentence before escaping while out with a roadside work crew.