Teen charged relating to death of 15-year-old Jason Richards applying for youthful offender

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Jason Richards

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A teen charged in the death of another Albertville teen earlier this year is applying for youthful offender status.

Court documents show Ryan Anthony Fitch is applying for that status. District Attorney Steve Marshall says his office will oppose it. Fitch’s attorney applied for that status this week.

Albertville Police announced Fitch’s arrest in July, after a months-long investigation into Richards’ death. Another juvenile was also implicated in the case.

Fitch, 18 at the time of his arrest, is charged with abuse of a corpse, a felony, and criminally negligent homicide and tampering with physical evidence, both misdemeanors. He was friends with Jason, who had initially been reported as missing in the investigation.

Police said Fitch and the other suspect were Jason’s friends and that the gunshot that killed him was not an intentional act. During the investigation, police say they discovered Richards died of a single gunshot wound to the head, which occurred at a home on Miller Street in Albertville on the night of his initial disappearance, February 8.

“The investigation uncovered that the gunshot was not an intentional act, but an unintentional discharge of a .25 caliber handgun by Fitch, that caused the death of Richards,” Chief Pollard said, “They were actually in there with a gun, a loaded gun, handing it around and it went off.”

Police say after Richards was shot, Fitch and the juvenile panicked. They didn’t call for help, but instead took Richards’ body and dumped him in Langston, on Lois Lane. His body was found in May.

“The charges stem from the acts by Fitch and his accomplice during the moments immediately following the shooting and not the act in and of itself,” Pollard said.