2008-10-03 / Top Stories

33 Years For 'Steak And Egg' Killer

By Nicholas Briano

Michael Richardson, in a graduation photo supplied by his family to The Wave.
The man responsible for ending the life of a 30-year-old Far Rockaway native last summer in a Washington, D.C. diner has been convicted and sentenced to 33 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

A federal judge sentenced Donnell Harris, 22, on September 20 for the murder of Far Rockaway native Michael Richardson at Joe's Steak and Egg restaurant at 1939 Ninth Street, N.W. on June 27 at 2:30 a.m. He had been convicted in July on second-degree murder.

According to police, Richardson and his friends were eating inside the restaurant when Harris and his friends approached them looking to buy marijuana. Richardson and his friends immediately told the group they didn't have any marijuana. The two groups of men got into a confrontation that led to two shots being fired, one in Richardson's chest, resulting in his death shortly thereafter.

It is reported that Richardson stumbled out of the diner and died on the nearby sidewalk. Police arrested Harris five weeks later when several witnesses helped police track and identify Harris.

Richardson had been living and working in Washington, D.C. According to Richardson's family, he was in Washington working as an intern for the city's public defender's office.

Jennifer Phanton, Richardson's aunt, told The Wave last year that he first went to Washington about eight years ago to attend Howard University, where he earned a degree in international business.

Before his death, he was pursuing another degree at Georgetown University, with aspirations of going to law school shortly after.

Richardson was born in the St. John's Episcopal Hospital and attended St. Joachim Catholic School and John Adams High School before moving to the capital city for college.

His aunt said that Richardson was "very mischievous" when he was younger and often got himself into trouble, but that he had turned himself around.

"He was a very positive person," she said last year. "He was a big guy with a big heart and he had a generous and loving spirit."

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