Dying man accused of murder to be released from jail

Dying man accused of murder to be released from jail »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A dying man accused of killing his girlfriend will be released from custody following a bail hearing Thursday.

Doctor's say Richard Roberson only has months to live after being diagnosed with a failing liver.

In a bail hearing Thursday, a doctor took the stand, describing the extent of Roberson's failing heath to also include internal bleeding and mandatory regular stomach pumping.

Earlier Thursday, KIMA met with the family of the victim, Felicia Brooks.

"I still have her phone number in my phone," said Brooks' mother Violet Brown. "I know she's never going to call but I keep it there."

It's the first time they've been back to the apartment where Brooks was murdered in what police call a domestic violence case.

"She was telling us that she wanted to get away from him because he was threatening her. She was going to move over to Spokane," said Brown.

But, Brooks never got the chance.

Last August police responded to an apartment near 6th and Walnut in downtown Yakima.

According to court documents, when officers arrived, Brooks was found dead on the living room floor and "appeared to have been assaulted," with "multiple contusions and her eyes swollen and dark purple."

Police say Brooks' boyfriend of 5 years, Richard Roberson admitted to punching her several times in the face.

KIMA sat down with the county jail director to find out whether terminally ill inmates are typically released.

He tells us the severity of murder far often outweighs the severity of an illness.

"It is uncommon to see someone with this serious of an charge in a situation where they're petitioning to be released,” said Yakima County Jail Director Ed Campbell.

The family of the victim in the case were shocked at the judge's ruling, which will allow Roberson to be released and die outside of the jail.

“The reality is that as I look at the evidence, Mr. Roberson does not pose a threat to the community,” said Yakima County Superior Court Judge David Elofson.

Doctors say Roberson would greatly benefit from having more resources at his side, outside of the jail.

"I feel like he got away with murder. Who's to say he's going to die?” said Brown.

Roberson will be released to his sister's care.

Felicia's family says she leaves behind six children and two grandchildren.

Details of when Roberson will be released are still being worked out.