Man who beat friend with shovel at Minneapolis hotel sentenced to 9 years

A 30-year-old who pleaded guilty for hitting a man with a sharp military trench tool was sentenced to over 9 years in prison Friday.

The Hennepin County Attorney announced the 110-month sentence for William Richards, who pleaded guilty June 11 for the first-degree assault.

The incident occurred June 27, 2018 at a DoubleTree Hotel on LaSalle Avenue in Minneapolis. There, Richards asked to rent a room using the victim’s discount. Richards was told the victim was working to clean a room, so Richards went there and hit the victim in the back of the head with the tool.

The victim ran and Richards followed him into another room, where he continued to hack the victim until police arrived.

The victim suffered severe wounds to the back of his head and both of his arms.

The two were reportedly friends, but Richards believed the victim had murdered his uncle earlier that year. Police found that Richards’ uncle actually died of a heart attack.

At Friday’s sentencing, the victim said, “it is hard for me to go on with life.”

He also reported having limited use of his hands, which hurts his ability to work, make food or tie his daughter’s shoes. He also said he is forgetful.

Richards’ lawyer said his client is mentally ill and should not be imprisoned but should receive probation and obtain help for his condition. Judge Chu countered, saying, “I can’t say he won’t have future unprovoked violence,” before sentencing him.