Convicted murderer set to be released last month back in jail for alleged death threats

An inmate at Rockview state prison jailed since 1989 on murder charges, who was set for release last month, now faces new charges for allegedly threatening to kill witnesses and a prosecutor in his murder case.

Ryan Richard, 54, who pleaded guilty in 1989 to murdering his wife at their home in Berks County, allegedly sent his mother a detailed list of people he planned to kill upon his release from the state prison in Centre County.

Richard was charged Dec. 13 after his brother found the letters and alerted authorities. The man was originally set to be released from prison in early December, according to the Centre County District Attorney’s Office.

Instead, he was in Centre County court Wednesday, where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing on new charges, including eight misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats and eight summary harassment charges.

Richard remains jailed in the Centre County Correctional Facility, where he was transferred after the new charges were filed.

Before killing his wife, Richard participated in community theater in the Pottsville area and was cast in the lead role in a murder-mystery drama, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“Richards took the role of a character that plots the murder of his wife and sister so that he can pursue his real interest,” prosecutors said in a release.

His wife was found dead outside the couple’s home a short time later. A member of the play’s cast was targeted in the letters Richard sent his mother, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Richard also threatened to kill the woman’s family, the Berks County district attorney and law enforcement officials.