- The Washington Times - Monday, December 11, 2006

JESSUP, Md. (AP) — A man serving two life sentences for killing his two small children was found dead in a prison shower, apparently the victim of a homicide, authorities said.

Richard Spicknall, 34, was found unresponsive in the shower at the Jessup Correctional Institution about 7:40 p.m. Saturday.

Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead a few minutes later, said Department of Correctional Services spokesman Mark Vernarelli.

Mr. Vernarelli said Spicknall’s death was a homicide.

A spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, Kristin Riggin, said Spicknall died of asphyxia and that suicide was not suspected. She said no one had been charged with the crime as of yesterday afternoon.

Spicknall, of Laurel, confessed to killing his 3-year-old daughter, Destiny, and 2-year-old son, Richard, in September 1999 near Cambridge.

He originally told state police that a carjacker attacked him, threw him off a bridge and drove away with the children.

The story collapsed under questioning by state troopers, and Spicknall later said he killed the children and tried to commit suicide.

The mother of the children, Lisa Spicknall, could not be reached by the Associated Press for comment.

In an e-mail to the Annapolis Capital newspaper, Mrs. Spicknall said she was “grateful that this chapter is finally over and there will be no further worry of future criminal proceedings.”

The statement also said, “Although nothing will ever bring Destiny and Richie back to us, we are now able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. There will never be closure in our lives, but a weight has been lifted from our shoulders.”

Prosecutors withdrew their request for the death penalty after Spicknall entered guilty pleas in November 2000 to two counts of first-degree murder.

A judge sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences, plus 20 years.

In January 2002, a guard found Spicknall unconscious in his cell at the same institution, then called the Maryland House of Correction Annex. He was in a coma for about seven days.

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