Tahlequah Daily Press

October 12, 2012

Manslaughter case to move forward

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Cherokee County woman accused of shooting and killing a Hulbert man has stipulated to her competency and is set for a preliminary hearing later this year.

Misty Coleen Richardson, 38, faces charges of first-degree manslaughter and desecration of a human corpse. She allegedly admitted to authorities she shot and killed Herbert Lee Potts earlier this year, then attempted to bury him on her property and hide his death by pouring muriatic acid and lye on his body.

Richardson’s attorney, Angela Jones, requested a competency determination last month and said in court documents she believed her client didn’t have the ability to understand the nature of the charges she faces.

Special District Judge Holli Wells temporarily suspended the criminal proceedings in the case and ordered Richardson to undergo a forensic evaluation in Vinita to determine whether she is competent to stand trial. A sealed report from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health was filed this week.

Though the report was sealed, court documents show Richardson has now stipulated to her competency, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. in front of Wells.

Prosecutors allege Richardson shot Potts in the “heat of passion.”

She was considered a suspect in Potts’ disappearance, according to authorities, and was arrested on unrelated matters in Tahlequah. During a subsequent interview, she reportedly confessed she’d killed Potts and later led investigators to his remains in the Lost City area.

She has pleaded not guilty and is jailed on a $35,000 bond.