Teen faces federal charges in fatal Rutland shooting

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - A teenager who authorities say killed another teen during a drug-related shooting at a Rutland motel is now facing federal charges.

Kahliq Richardson, 18, was released into his parents’ custody after appearing in state court Monday afternoon. But shortly after that hearing, he was arrested by FBI officials on weapons charges.

Police say Richardson shot Jonah Pandiani,19, in the head at the Quality Inn on Main Street. He turned himself in shortly after Pandiani’s body was found early Saturday and admitted he had been using cocaine prior to what he called the accidental shooting.

But a federal judge says Richardson is a danger to the public and to himself and presents a “very real risk of suicide and self-harm.” A state judge released Richardson to get medical attention and therapy, saying he had just turned 18 and didn’t have a criminal history. But the federal prosecutors say that’s not good enough given Richardson’s past drug use and violent behavior. And even though Richardson claims the shooting was an accident, they say the investigation is casting doubt on that theory.

Richardson will remain in federal custody until his next court appearance Friday.

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