Suspected serial rapist's family claims he's no 'monster'

Suspected Serial Rapist's Family Claims He's No "Monster"

ROSSVILLE, TN - (WMC-TV) – A relatively hidden house off a rural road in Rossville, Tennessee is where a suspected serial rapist was arrested Tuesday in front of his children and other family members.

"It caught us by surprise," said sister-in-law Linda Taylor.

34-year-old Michael Richardson, aka Harwell, is charged with six counts of rape in Shelby County.  He is accused of picking up women along Summer Avenue and elsewhere, sexually assaulting them, then forcing them out of his car near the Shelby/Fayette County line.

"This side of Michael they're claiming," said Taylor.  "The 'serial raper' and the 'monster,' that's not Michael."

Richardson, who was arraigned Wednesday, is accused of robbing one of his alleged victims after biting her when she tried to get away.

According to an affidavit, he told another woman he would "blow her brains out" if she did not comply with his sexual demands.  Police say DNA evidence ties Richardson to each victim.

"They can say what they want to say," said Taylor.

Richardson's family admits he previously served time for rape.  However, Action News 5 discovered he may have also been falsely accused before.

A Fayette County jury found him not guilty of sexual assault during a 2006 trial.

"There was no reason to believe something similar could happen, down the road," said senior assistant public defender Shana Johnson.

Richardson's sister-in-law looks forward to his next day in court.

"And it's gonna be the same as it was last time," said Taylor.  "Not guilty," she added.

Richardson remains behind bars at 201 Poplar on a $2 million bond.  His next court date is next week.

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