Kenneth Rickard

Kenneth Rickard, the Newport octogenarian who allegedly shot at his “caregiver” in a fit of jealousy, will not stand trail after he was deemed incompetent.

NEWPORT — Kenneth Rickard, the elderly Newport man who allegedly shot at his caregiver will not stand trial on criminal charges after he was deemed incompetent.

Now prosecutors want a hearing to determine how much of a danger Rickard, 81, of 105 Springfield Road, presents to the community at large. Rickard has been held since the July 1 shooting, first in the Sullivan County House of Corrections, and later at the Sullivan County Nursing Home, both in Unity.

Under the terms of an agreement recently filed in the Sullivan Superior Court in Newport, that hearing to determine his dangerousness will take place sometime next month.

Rickard is accused of shooting at the woman who he reportedly kept living in his basement, paying her in cigarettes and beer to be his caregiver, according to the affidavit filed in the case.

“Kiss me goodbye,” Kenneth Rickard reportedly said to his wife, Nancy Rickard, on July 1 before he headed out to his car where he confronted the caregiver about her love life, according to the affidavit.

Nancy Rickard told police the woman had been living with them for four years. Nancy Rickard was unhappy with the arrangement, according to the affidavit.

According to Newport police, the woman accused Kenneth Rickard of sexual assault in December of 2018. That case stalled when the woman stopped cooperating with police, according to the affidavit.

On the morning of the alleged shooting, Kenneth Rickard reportedly pulled a .25 caliber pistol out of the glove compartment of his car, and accused the woman, in the driver’s seat, of having a boyfriend, according to the affidavit. She ran and he fired the gun, according to the affidavit. Nancy Rickard, in a wheelchair, confronted her husband, who was by this time in a scooter in the driveway. He allegedly fired again at the woman before the gun jammed and his wife took it away following a brief struggle, according to the affidavit.

Nancy Rickard hid the gun until police arrived, the affidavit states.

Kenneth Rickard was moved out of the jail last year after his attorney, Gary Apfel, raised concerns about his physical and mental health. After he improved enough in the county nursing home to be able to communicate with his attorney, Apfel wrote in a motion to the court stating that Rickard showed signs of delusion.

In Apfel’s motion, which was filed as a public document before it was sealed, the attorney states that Rickard told him several untrue things about the alleged victim, and he told Apfel that Rickard was getting a divorce from his wife, all of these statements being untrue, Apfel wrote.

“If Mr. Rickard is actively delusional about (the alleged victim) he cannot meaningfully communicate about what (she) did or did not do,” Apfel wrote.

Thursday, February 20, 2020