A Chula Vista man pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder in the 1992 slaying of a National City woman whose body has never been found. He also pleaded guilty to killing his wife and her mother in a staged accident in a ravine off state Route 67 in Lakeside in 2010.
Michael Eugene Richardson, 60, was immediately sentenced to six consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence for the three murders was doubled because of the three-strike law.
In exchange for his guilty pleas to three first-degree murders counts, Richardson will not face a trial in which the prosecutor hoped to persuade a jury to impose the death penalty.
Jovita Collazo, 38, vanished on April 30, 1992, after saying she was going to a store; her body was never found. Collazo was living with Richardson at the time.
“I lost my mother when I needed her the most,” said Collazo’s daughter, who is now in her 30s.
“Granted, we don’t have the body to give her a proper burial, but I’m just happy that he finally admitted that he did it after 21 years, three months and two weeks,” said the woman in a KGTV Channel 10 interview.
In 2010, Richardson’s wife, Thao Richardson, 39, and her mother, Phan Lai, 72, both lived with Richardson in Chula Vista.
On Monday, Richardson also admitted to killing his wife and his mother-in-law, who were both found near an overturned Honda in a ravine off state Route 67 near Slaughterhouse Canyon Road.