TAHLEQUAH – A Cherokee County woman who sought to withdraw her “Alford” plea because of publicity the case generated must stand by the plea.

Special District Judge Sandy Crosslin denied Regina Richards’ motion to withdraw her plea. Richards, in the motion to withdraw, said she has received harassing phone calls and experienced problems at work since the plea was publicized.

Richards entered her plea to a cruelty to animals charge, which alleged she didn’t properly care for two horses. The animals were given to a boys’ ranch at Gore as part of the plea agreement.

Richards maintains she never admitted any guilt when entering the plea, but prosecutors argued the plea was basically the same as a guilty plea, and that Richards should not be permitted to withdraw it based on the publicity. Television stations and area newspapers carried stories about the plea.

Richards was granted a deferred three-year judgment, and ordered to pay restitution for the upkeep and care of the horses, court costs and make a donation to the Humane Society of Cherokee County. She was represented by Lawrence Langley. Assistant District Attorney Nikki Baker Dotson prosecuted the case.

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