Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Erica Richarson's cold case solved 11 years later

TAMPA — When Imogene Richardson learned that day in 1997 that her daughter wasn't at work, she drove to her apartment and peered through the window.

She saw blood on the white carpet and a knife nearby.

Over the 11 years since that scene and her daughter's death, Richardson thought she saw the killer at the supermarket, church and bookstores. She saw him in her imagination aboard an oil rig in international waters, too far from U.S. justice.

The now frail, bespectacled 71-year-old mother wanted to look him in the eye and ask, "Why?"

She will never get that chance.

On Friday, the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office and state authorities announced they had found the man who killed Erica Richardson, 33, in her Valrico home.

Turned out, that man, John Milton Feiga, her estranged boyfriend, had been killed just four months after Richardson. His fate became known recently through tests of an old DNA sample.

Richardson's daughter, Erica, was her baby girl, the youngest of three. She loved gospel music, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and her Siamese cat. She graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a pharmacy degree.

She got a job at a Seffner Wal-Mart pharmacy, visited her mother often and left clothes there so her mom knew she always thought of it as home.

A cousin introduced her to Feiga, and they began dating.

In 1996, he was arrested for battery, domestic battery and violation of probation. In 1997, he was arrested for violating a domestic violence injunction.

Erica Richardson filed a restraining order against him that expired Dec. 2, 1997.

Six days later, her body was found stabbed 67 times in her apartment. Her Honda Accord was missing, and Feiga's truck was parked nearby.

Two weeks later, investigators found the car in a hospital parking lot in Lafayette, La., about 60 miles from Feiga's hometown.

Then, in June, the Sheriff's Office cold-case unit submitted unidentified blood thought to be Feiga's from the crime scene to a state laboratory for analysis and to file with a federal network.

More than 700 miles away, two labs in Louisiana were also looking into unsolved cases. They had entered the DNA samples of a man found floating in the Atchafalaya River in St. Mary Parish, La., in 1998. He had been murdered, authorities said, but his identity was "John Doe," case No. A98-071.

On July 7, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement learned that the DNA Hillsborough authorities submitted matched the floating body.

Army dental records confirmed the body was Feiga's.

"I thank God to know that he is gone," Imogene Richardson said Friday.

But now that her quest to find her daughter's killer is over, Richardson and her family are left with another question.

Who killed Feiga?

Erica Richarson's cold case solved 11 years later 08/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 11, 2008 9:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

    Nation

    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.