Hammond man sentenced to 28 years in girlfriend’s death

A Hammond man was sentenced to 28 years Wednesday in a plea deal for fatally shooting his girlfriend during an argument.

Richard D. Jones Jr., 44, pleaded guilty in February to voluntary manslaughter, a Level 2 felony. The prison term was set under the plea’s terms.

Jones told police in 2022 it was an accident.

Moments before the shooting, his decade-long girlfriend, Charletta Pritchett, said Jones’ relative had raped her and an argument escalated.

She had a gun in her hand, according to charging documents. When he went to grab it, it went off, striking her in the chest, he told police, according to court documents.

Officers were called on Jan. 22, 2022, to the 900 block of Bauer Street in Hammond where they met Jones’ mother outside.

The woman said Jones called her as he and Pritchett were arguing. She said she didn’t hear a shot or know what happened to her.

Pritchett was found on the floor in a back bedroom, according to court records. She suffered a gunshot to the right breast with lacerations near her left temple and on her right wrist. She also had bruises on her arms.

Earlier that night, according to charging documents, Jones went out with relatives to play pool and noticed a man commenting on Pritchett’s Facebook page on the way home. He confronted her about it, documents said.

The conversation quickly became heated, documents said, when Pritchett accused his relative of rape, saying Jones had some responsibility because he took her to the man’s house.

Jones told her he “heard” similar stories about the relative, but didn’t know who to believe, documents said.

As they argued, Jones called his mother, putting her on speakerphone.

The woman told him to “walk away” and “leave it alone,” documents said, before Jones hung up.

When he tried to grab the gun, it hit Pritchett in the head, he said.

When he pointed it at her, it went off, he said.

“You … shot me, dude,” Pritchett said, according to documents.

He called his mother back, around 3:15 a.m., saying Pritchett had been shot. He told his mother to come over. When she arrived, Pritchett was motionless. The mother called 911, documents said.

Jones took his three children to their mother’s house, while his mother waited for police. Two bullet casings were later found in the bedroom and dining room.

Jones later admitted he fired a second shot at the dining room wall, because he was upset about what happened, charges state.

mcolias@post-trib.com