Hamilton woman charged with 2016 Lyft murder admits theft conspiracy, gets released from jail
One of the women charged with accomplice liability murder in connection with last year’s Lyft rideshare homicide has been released from jail after pleading guilty to a theft conspiracy charge.
Dominique Richter, 32, of Hamilton, was originally facing a possible 30 years to life in prison on allegations she aided and abetted the November 2016 shooting death of 27-year-old Amber Dudley. Now Richter could be sentenced to as low as three years of incarceration or as much as five years for pleading guilty to a third-degree nonviolent crime.
Dudley, a Collingswood resident, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest as a rideshare passenger caught in the middle of a grisly robbery-turned-murder plot in Trenton’s North Ward 12 months ago. Prosecutors said Richter was involved in a conspiracy to lure a Lyft rideshare vehicle into the capital city for the purposes of promoting a theft scheme.
On the evening of Nov. 30, 2016, a Lyft vehicle arrived in the area of Mechanics and East Trenton avenues and was confronted by a gunman who attempted to rob a male passenger. The gunman’s weapon discharged during the confrontation, wounding Dudley with lethal injuries that eventually led to her death, prosecutors said.
The victim’s younger sister, Brittney Dudley, said her family was “devastated by this loss” in a GoFundMe campaign. The family was lacking funds for Amber Dudley’s funeral and ended up raising $3,125 in a GoFundMe call for help, exceeding the initial $2,000 goal.
Ronderrick Manuel, 43, of Trenton, is being prosecuted as the alleged principal gunman responsible for Dudley’s violent death. The other co-defendants charged with accomplice liability murder are Andrew Alston, 40, of Trenton; Douglas Mathis, 53, of Trenton; and Kasey DeZolt, 33, of Morrisville, Pa.
The three male defendants are being jailed without bail on pretrial detention, and DeZolt is being held on $500,000 cash bail. Meanwhile, Richter is free and awaiting sentencing for pleading guilty to third-degree theft conspiracy, according to court records.
Richter got off light, considering a Mercer County grand jury in April handed up an indictment charging all five co-defendants with first-degree murder — the heaviest criminal offense in New Jersey that commands decades of prison time for anyone convicted on that count.
Richter was committed to the Mercer County Correction Center on Dec. 22, 2016, after being charged with murder on the theory of accomplice liability. She was being held on $500,000 cash bail until Sept. 11, when Superior Court Judge Darlene Pereksta released Richter on her own recognizance upon pleading guilty for her nonviolent role in the homicide case, records show.
Richter admitted she had participated in a conspiracy with other people to promote or facilitate a plan for a principal actor to steal movable property from an unwitting victim.
The state will formally dismiss Richter’s accomplice liability murder charges at her upcoming sentencing hearing. Raymond C. Staub, Richter’s defense attorney, did not immediately have comments on his client’s plea agreement. Staub previously argued in court that his client is the mother of a young child and is not a flight risk.
“It is our policy not to comment on plea offers while cases are active and pending,” Casey DeBlasio, spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, said Tuesday in an email.
At a December 2016 bail hearing, Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Grillo said Richter had “implicated herself and others” in the murder of Amber Dudley and organized the robbery “by her own admission.”
The state could potentially call upon Richter to testify against the co-defendants in the murder case. She is scheduled to be sentenced 9 a.m. Dec. 1 before Judge Pereksta.
Richter listed Capital Health Regional Medical Center as her employer on Facebook last year, but a hospital spokeswoman would not confirm whether she worked there, saying Capital Health does not provide information on a “police matter.”