General Crime

* Brent Lee Richardson Richmond man gets life in prison for murder of Eric Pree

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A Richmond man now faces 52 years to life in prison for the 2009 slaying of a 23-year-old man in front of a Pittsburg barbershop. A Contra Costa County judge sentenced 33-year-old Brent Lee Richardson Friday for fatally shooting young Bay Point father Eric Pree, Jr.  after taking part in an armed robbery of a barbershop on July 14, 2009. That afternoon, Richardson robbed a nearby AutoZone store, then got into a stolen car with his co-conspirator, Donnelly Thompson, and headed to Pittsburg, according to Deputy District Attorney Gerald Chang.

Armed with a semi-automatic gun, Thompson entered Cuttin’ Up, a barbershop on East 10th Street in Pittsburg, intending to rob it, while Richardson waited outside in the stolen car. Once inside the shop, Thompson was confronted by a barber and a customer who fought with him and wrestled his gun away from him, Chang said. Meanwhile, Pree was getting his hair cut at a nearby barbershop, where customers were alerted about a commotion going on at Cuttin’ Up.

Concerned for his friend, who owned Cuttin’ Up, Pree left the second barbershop and went to see what was happening, according to authorities. Around the same time, Thompson ran out of Cuttin’ Up and into the waiting getaway car. But when a barber fired the suspects’ gun at the car, Richardson fired back, shooting Pree in the head.The 23-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Friday, Judge John Kennedy heard from Pree’s parents, a cousin and from Richardson before handing down the sentence.The judge also took into account the defendant’s prior convictions related to theft, weapons, narcotics and domestic abuse.Richardson’s former co-defendant, Thompson, has also been charged with murder and robbery and is awaiting his own trial, Chang said.

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