Teen takes plea deal connected to fatal shooting in Rutland

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 5:22 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The teen charged in connection with a homicide at a Rutland motel last year has admitted his guilt on related charges.

Kahliq Richardson, 18, on Monday pleaded guilty to federal gun charges stemming from the April shooting death of his friend Jonah Pandiani, 19, at a Rutland motel.

Richardson went to court Monday to accept a plea deal.

According to court paperwork, on April 3, 2021, Richardson was in the Quality Inn in Rutland with friends where he admitted to doing drugs and drinking alcohol. During that gathering, Pandiani suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Later that day, Richardson and his parents arrived at the Rutland Police Department where he admitted to the shooting. State prosecutors charged him with involuntary manslaughter. But federal prosecutors also brought gun charges.

Monday in federal court, Richardson pleaded guilty to knowingly possessing a firearm while being a known drug user. As part of the deal, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

During the hearing, Richardson told the judge that he’s been attending weekly therapy sessions and has not consumed any drugs or alcohol outside of prescription medication.

The judge released Richardson into the custody of his parents pending sentencing in July.

I tried to talk to Richardson on his way out of the courthouse.

Reporter Cam Smith: What kinds of things are you feeling right now after what you heard from the judge?

Kahliq Richardson: I’m just trying to get my life together man.

What this means for the state manslaughter case against Richardson is unclear. I reached out to Rutland State’s Attorney Rosemary Kennedy for her reaction to the plea deal but I did not hear back before this story was published.

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