By Sarah Mansheim
A Peterstown man was found guilty in Monroe County Circuit Court last week after facing first-degree murder charges for the June, 2013 shooting death of his lover’s husband.
Joshua Neal Hubbard, 28, was found guilty of murder and conspiracy for killing Danny Ray Richardson Jr., known as Ray, in order to be with Richardson’s wife, Amber Lee Richardson. Amber Richardson, 26, was sentenced to life in prison this past June for her role in her husband’s death. The Monroe County jury deliberated for less than half an hour before finding her guilty of accessory to murder and conspiracy.
Now, a jury has found Hubbard guilty too. The four-woman, eight-man jury deliberated for over two-and-a-half hours before rendering their verdict. They did not recommend mercy, and presiding Judge Robert Irons immediately sentenced Hubbard to life in prison for the murder charge along with a concurrent one-to-five year sentence for conspiracy.
Hubbard was arrested on June 4, 2013, a day after Amber Richardson confessed to state police that she and Hubbard lured Ray Richardson to the mailbox near the Richardsons’ Flat Top Mountain Road home under the guise of asking him to check the mail. Hubbard was accused of lying in wait at the mailbox and shooting Ray Richardson two times, killing him.
In June, 2013, police discovered Ray Richardson’s body in a shallow grave near his home after Amber Richardson filed a missing person report. During her trial, it was reported that she only filed the report after her father, who lived nearby, notified local authorities that Ray Richardson was missing.
Amber Richardson confessed to the crime after police noted inconsistencies in her story and took her to the Union detachment of the West Virginia State Police for questioning.
After her confession, police returned to the Richardson property and spotted Hubbard in the woods. A foot chase ensued, and Hubbard escaped the scene and was arrested in Greenbrier County near Second Creek the following day. It was during a search of the Richardson property that police discovered Ray Richardson’s body in a shallow grave behind the family’s home.
During her trial, Amber Richardson testified that she wanted to divorce her husband, but Hubbard convinced her to that killing Ray Richardson was the appropriate route. However, the jury found her guilty after evidence showed she provided Hubbard with the weapon used in Richardson’s death, and that she and Hubbard had exchanged text messages planning the ambush.
During his trial, Hubbard’s defense team said that he was provoked during an altercation with Ray Richardson at the mailbox, and the shooting was in self defense.