Episode 421: The Torture & Murder of Cordell Richards


23-01-2023 • 1 hr 3 mins

On March 4th, 1999 the body of Cordell Richards was found in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The man had been absolutely brutalized. He was tied to a tree, beaten, burned, and had his throat cut. The medical examiner notices something strange though; he found maggots present at the scene but some of them had been charred. This meant that the man had likely been burned after his body had already begun decomposing. Why would the killer(s) come back after the fact? And better yet, who had done this to the 31 year old father of two?

Thank you to the lovely David White for research assistance!


Associated Press. 1999. "Teens charged with veteran's death." Lakeland Ledger, March 19.

—. 2000. "Teen emotional as lawyer describes scene of slaying." Ocala Star-Banner, February 16.

—. 2000. "Video shows suspects returning cleaver." Ocala Star-Banner, March 18.

—. 2002. "Court reverses death sentence." Sarasota Herald Tribune, November 8: 7B.

—. 2000. "Girl, 17, convicted in killing." Sarasota Herald-Tribune, February 18: W6.

Gainsville Sun. 1999. "Accessory to murder charges are dropped." Gainsville Sun, September 23: 1.

—. 2000. "Son of minister gets death sentence." Gainsville Sun, May 17.

Hawkins, Erik. 2020. Florida Teen Trio Torture, Bludgeon And Immolate Man Chained To A Tree. February 27. Accessed December 6, 2022. https://www.oxygen.com/killer-couples/crime-news/kristel-maestas-ronald-bell-murder-cordell-richards-torture#:~:text=When%20Fort%20Walton%2C%20Florida%2C%20police,with%20his%20wrists%20also%20bound.

Kristel Rose Maestas v. State of Florida. 2021. 1D19-1767 (First District Court of Appeal, State of Florida, April 20).

2003. New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science. Directed by Bertrand Morin. Produced by New Dominion Pictures. Performed by New Dominion Pictures.

Ronald Lee Bell, Jr. v. State of Florida. 2002. SC00-1185 (Supreme Court of Florida, November 7).

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