-- — Berlina “Blondie” Richardson, 64, Glenwood, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two firearms offenses related to her alleged purchase of a semi-automatic firearm for her son, David Ison, a convicted felon, announced Joe Hogsett, U.S. attorney for Indiana’s Southern District, Aug. 24.
Ison was charged and convicted of murdering five individuals near Laurel Sept. 25, 2011.
The document filed in U.S. District Court, Indianapolis Division, Aug. 21 alleged that Richardson purchased the rifle and ammunition from Fields Outdoor Adventures, Rushville, a federally licensed firearms dealer, July 22, 2011, and falsely informed the dealer that she was going to be the owner.
She is charged with actually buying the rifle at the request of her son, who gave her the money for the purchase. In addition, she also faces charges for allegedly transferring the rifle and ammunition to him immediately after the purchase.
Ison was previously convicted of several felonies and spent most of the preceding 20 years incarcerated for a variety of violent offenses in Indiana.
Now he is serving five life sentences without the possibility of parole. It is not believed that the firearm purchased by Richardson was directly used in those murders.
Richardson faces a maximum of 10 years on each charge plus a $250,000 fine.
Hogsett noted, “This indictment comes as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Violent Crime Initiative and is the result of collaborative investigative efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Indiana State Police.
“Launched in March 2011, the VCI has produced a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges brought federally – from just 14 charges in 2010 to more than 110 last year. Already in 2012, 60 felon in possession of a firearm charges have been filed.”
During a meeting with law enforcement officials in Batesville, Hogsett pointed out, “The Stipps Hill (Laurel) murders remain the most violent single act in the entire Southern District of Indiana since I took office nearly two years ago.
“The VCI sends a message .... even if you don’t pull the trigger, you may be held accountable for your conduct if you are in any way responsible” for putting a firearm in a convicted felon’s hand.
Ripley County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy David Pippin said, “We support everything that helps. We’re not looking to take weapons away from law-abiding citizens.”
Hogsett emphasized, “This initiative is primarily designed to protect law enforcement officers …. who come in contact constantly with difficult and dangerous people. I don’t think the public understands how many times each and every day officers are presented with a situation that is extraordinarily dangerous .... I’m tired of them being targeted without serious consequences.”
“2011 was sadly a record year in our country for law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty, and most of the lost lives were due to being victims of gunfire.”
Ripley County Sheriff Tom Grills believes the VCI will benefit rural areas. Even though cities like Indianapolis have more crime, if an officer calls for backup, other officers respond within seconds. “Out here in the our counties, it could take 20 minutes.”
The attorney added, “The people who we are targeting with the initiative are almost exclusively convicted felons. There’s a reason why the law prohibits them from owning a firearm. There is an extraordinarily high probability toward that gun being used in an act of violence.”
Batesville Police Chief Stan Holt agreed. Prior to his incarceration, “we got information Ison had planned on coming to Batesville and rob the CVS. If that plan had taken place, our law enforcement officers would have been involved,” and possibly put in harm’s way.
Diane Raver can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 114; or diane.raver@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.