Couple charged in 1996 slaying of woman's husband

Saturday, March 24th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ His arms were laden with Christmas presents and his wife was at his side when Wall Street accountant Kevin Foote was gunned down on a Brooklyn street four years ago.

At the time, police described the slaying as a random, brazen and senseless act _ an apparent robbery attempt.

Then Foote's widow married an ex-convict two months after the slaying, and both became suspects.

Police said they never had enough evidence to file charges until now. Foote's widow, Vanessa, 30, and her husband, Jeffrey Richardson, 31, were arrested this week in Conyers, Ga., where they live.

They were extradited Friday to New York to face second-degree murder charges and will likely be arraigned Monday, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said.

``In our hearts, we knew it; there were too many things pointing to it,'' James Foote, the victim's father, told Newsday.

Kevin Foote, 26, had worked for Smith Barney, and Vanessa was a teacher's aide. The night of the shooting, Dec. 21, 1996, the couple left their Long Island home to visit Vanessa's parents in Brooklyn.

At her suggestion, they went to drop off presents at her cousins' apartment nearby. Their 4-year-old son stayed with his grandparents.

Vanessa told authorities she and Foote were just leaving the car when a masked man approached, put a gun to Foote's head and demanded money. The gunman then shot Foote in the head as she watched in horror.

Police say they later learned that the cousins had told Vanessa they would be out of town that day _ and that she had been having an affair with Richardson.

Richardson had been paroled from prison three months before the killing after serving nearly five years for attempted robbery.

Vanessa refused to speak to police without a lawyer, so investigators were left with nothing but suspicious circumstances and no hard evidence.

In June 1999, Lt. John Dove and Detective Patrick Lanigan looked into the case again and found a new eyewitness. The witness claimed Foote's shooter was not wearing a mask, as Vanessa had told police at the time of the shooting. The witness also picked Richardson's photo out of a lineup, police said.

Last week, the two were indicted by a grand jury.