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Crime News Cold Justice

Texas Man Pleads Guilty in Murder Case Investigated on Cold Justice

The investigation into Rhonda Richardson's murder was featured in a past episode of Cold Justice.

By Cydney Contreras

A Texas man has pleaded guilty to the brutal murder of his neighbor just days before the case was to go to trial, wrapping up a case previously featured on Oxygen's Cold Justice.

How to Watch

Watch Cold Justice on Oxygen Saturdays at 8/7c. Catch up on the Oxygen App.

Robert Dale Clary pleaded guilty to the murder of Rhonda Richardson in exchange for a reduced sentence of 30 years, according to the Montgomery County Police Reporter. Currently 67 years old, Clary will be 82 when he is up for parole in 15 years.

The murder trial was scheduled to begin April 29, 2024, but Clary's plea saved Richardson's family from having to revisit the murder.

"Let this case be a reminder to all who prey on the residents of San Jacinto County," District Attorney Todd Dillon said. "Even if it takes years, what is done in the dark will be brought to the light. Rhonda was beloved by family, friends and coworkers; she was looking forward to being there for them in retirement. Clary took that future away from her, so it is only fitting that he surrenders his."

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The Investigation Into the Murder of Rhonda Richardson

Richardson was found dead in a forest adjacent to her home in May 2019. The body had been badly decomposed and investigators struggled to determine the cause of death at the time, which contributed to the case going cold.

In 2022, former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and investigator Steve Spingola joined the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office to aid in the investigation. Clary had been an early suspect, having lived near Richardson and helped her search for the dogs on the night of Richardson's disappearance. Additionally, Clary reportedly had photos of Richardson's body on his cell phone, according to Cold Justice. But there was little additional evidence linking him to the crime. 

Then, while reviewing the evidence, digital forensics expert Eric Devlin determined that Clary had been near the crime scene around the time of the murder. Moreover, Devlin found that Clary had downloaded the photos of the crime scene from the cloud after previously deleting them. All of this ran counter to Clary's claims that he had neither been near the crime scene nor been in possession of photos related to it.

In light of the evidence, San Jacinto County District Attorney Todd Dillon and Assistant DA Robert Freyer pursued charges against Clary.

A police handout of Robert Dale Clary

Who was Rhonda Richardson?

At the time of Richardson's murder, she was working as a corrections officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, though she was planning to retire in the near future. 

Her daughter, Amanda Ramkissoon, spoke to Cold Justice about the frustrating search for answers. "I’m happy somebody is looking into it and sad to be reliving it," Ramkissoon said.

To learn more about the the new developments in cases featured on Cold Justice, tune in to Oxygen May 11 at 8 p.m.