CEDAR CITY — Charges against a Cedar City man accused of beating his girlfriend have been amended to include murder in light of her death.
Kerry Lynn Richardson, 50, originally was charged in 5th District Court with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, in connection with the Sept. 9 beating of his girlfriend, Tracy Ellen Little.
But Little later died, and charges against Richardson were amended Monday to murder, a first-degree felony, possession or use of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.
Police were called to 1597 N. Cedar Blvd. the morning of Sept. 9 on reports of an assault and found Little with injuries to her face and head, according to a probable cause statement. The woman was transported to a local hospital before being taken to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
"(Little) was in severely critical condition with multiple head and face fractures, and it is unlikely that she will survive," according to the statement.
Officers noted that the room where Little was found was likely where she suffered her injuries, as there was a "large amount" of blood on the walls, floor, ceiling, bedding and clothing in the room. Blood was also found in an adjoining bathroom.
According to the probable cause statement, a methamphetamine pipe and a number of empty beer bottles were also found in the room. Richardson reportedly told police that the couple smoked the methamphetamine together.
Richardson, who had been dating Little for 11 years, was in the home when investigators arrived and had blood on his hands, face, feet and back, but appeared to be uninjured. He was taken into custody and interviewed, but he couldn't account for the woman's injuries, according to the probable cause statement.
Richardson told officers he and Little were the only ones who lived at the residence and the only people home that night. He said Little returned home around 2 a.m.
"Richardson stated that he believed that Little may be having an affair on him and said that they talked about this after she returned home," according to the statement.
Richardson told police he had fallen asleep but was awakened later "to the sounds of Little's labored breathing. He then called 911," the probable cause statement reads.
A preliminary hearing in the case was set for Sept. 26 but continued after Little died on Sept. 20 to allow for attorneys to get the autopsy report. It has been rescheduled for Dec. 14.