After more than an hour of tear-filled testimony from both families, a Stillwater man was sentenced Tuesday to six years and two months in prison for a vicious bar-closing beating of a Bayport man who later died of his injuries.
Eric Kaprice Richard II, 23, was taken into custody in Washington County District Court after Judge B. William Ekstrum told him: “I have no doubt that you are a person with a lot of promise. I hope you live a good life. I want that for you, and I would have wanted that for Adam, too.”
Richard pleaded guilty in September to a reduced charge of first-degree assault that caused great bodily harm to Adam D. McCloud, 29. The attack occurred at Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar in downtown Stillwater on Sept. 28, 2012.
Defense attorney Krista Marks, citing Richard’s efforts to remain law-abiding, asked that Ekstrum sentence him to probation. But prosecutor Karin McCarthy said Richard caused a traumatic brain injury that led to McCloud’s death a few days later in Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
The attack came soon after Richard and McCloud were dancing in the bar and McCloud accidentally knocked a drink from Richard’s hand. A security video shown in the courtroom Tuesday revealed Richard charging at the taller McCloud as the bar was closing, knocking him backward with at least two punches. McCloud fell, striking his head on the floor.
“We know this was a brutal attack,” McCarthy told the court. “The defendant came at him with his fists flying and the full force of his body. Adam McCloud paid for that spilled drink with his life.”
Richard, in addressing the court before sentencing, apologized to McCloud’s family and friends and offered his condolences. “I’m truly sorry. I never meant for any of this to happen. I really do apologize,” he said.
Initially, Richard was charged with manslaughter and second-degree murder without intent because McCloud suffered skull fractures and intracranial bleeding. Later, McCloud fell out of bed at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, possibly striking his head on the floor, and died after a series of strokes.
“My brother never woke up again. We never heard his laugh again,” his sister, Tara Odebrecht, said in a victim statement. “There really are no words to express the pain.”
She said that her only brother “will never marry, he will never have children to carry on the family name,” and she said that Adam had asked his family to seek justice.
“I truly hope that Eric finds his purpose in life and finds a way to better the world,” Odebrecht said of the defendant.
Sonyia Granville, speaking on behalf of the Richard family, said Eric rescued a child from a vehicle in 2011. “He is very caring, funny and respectful. He is not a malicious man,” Granville said. “We’ve had many conversations over the past year, and I can tell you he has no intention of repeating the events the night of September 28, 2012.”
On behalf of the McCloud family, McCarthy showed photographs of Adam as a boy in a Bart Simpson costume and as a Boy Scout. Another photo that showed him beaten and dying in a hospital bed drew audible gasps from his family.
After Ekstrum sentenced Richard, several of his friends and family members wept. Red-eyed, he turned to them and said, “I love you,” as deputies led him away.