NEW INFO: Not Guilty Plea in Vinton County Murder

By: Kristen Schneider, WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Kristen Schneider, WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 1/27/14
VINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – A Vinton County man has pleaded not guilty to murdering a woman back in 2012.

In October a grand jury indicted Richard Puckett, 46, of McArthur, on charges of aggravated murder, murder aggravated burglary, and tampering with evidence.

On Friday, Puckett pleaded not guilty to all the charges during his arraignment in Vinton County Common Pleas court.

Investigators say Puckett killed 46-year-old Robin Waldren.

Waldren’s body was found hidden on a piece of property along Carpenter Road in Richland Township on March 1, 2012.

The property belonged to his estranged wife, Tina Puckett.

Investigators told WSAZ.com that Waldren was friends with Tina Puckett and had been staying at her house. Tina Puckett was the one who called 911 when she came home to a crime scene.

Puckett is currently serving a nine years sentence on escape and assault charges out of Athens County.

Puckett was arrested in Vinton County shortly after the murder on an unrelated charge. As he was being transported to the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail, deputies say he got into a fight with the deputy who was driving and tried to take his gun. The deputy crashed the van but Puckett was able to get into the driver's seat and sped away. The deputy was able to shoot out one of the tires and Puckett crashed.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 10/14/13 @ 10:22 a.m.
VINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man who had been named a prime suspect in a murder that happened in March of 2012, has been indicted in the case.

According to court records, Richard Puckett, 46, of McArthur, is charged with aggravated murder, murder and aggravated burglary, all with gun specifications. He also faces a tampering with evidence charge.

The charges stem back to the murder of 46-year-old Robin Waldren. Her body was found on a piece of property on Carpenter Road in Richland Township, on March 1, 2012.

The property belonged to Tina Puckett, Richard Puckett's estranged wife.

Investigators told WSAZ.com that Waldren was friends with Tina Puckett and had been staying at her house. Tina Puckett was the one who called 911 when she came home to a crime scene.

Waldren's body was found hidden away on part of the property.

According to published reports, Puckett is currently serving nine years on charges out of Athens County.

Puckett was arrested in Vinton County shortly after the murder on an unrelated domestic charge. When he was being transported from Vinton County to the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail, deputies say he got into a fight with the deputy who was driving and tried to take his gun. The deputy crashed the van. Puckett was able to get into the driver's seat and sped away. The deputy was able to shoot out one of the tires and Puckett crashed.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 10/16/12 @ 2:25 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The McArthur, Ohio, man who the Vinton County Sheriff says is the prime suspect in a woman’s murder has pleaded guilty to unrelated charges in Athens County.

Richard L. Puckett, 45, was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court. Instead Puckett pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, grand theft of a firearm, assault on a peace officer, grand theft of a motor vehicle and escape.

Following the plea, Puckett was sentenced to nine years in prison, plus ordered to pay all court costs, including jury fees.

The charges are related to an incident on March 8, when Puckett was being transported to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in a Vinton County Sheriff’s van. Prosecutors say he attempted to escape by disarming the deputy and then stealing the transport vehicle.

Puckett was in custody at the time after being arrested on a domestic violence charge which was later dropped.

Earlier this year, Vinton County Sheriff Shawn Justice said Puckett was the “key and only person of interest” in the murder of 46-year-old Robin Waldren.

Waldren’s body was found March 1 hidden on property at a home along Carpenter Road in the Richland Township area of Vinton County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/28/12 @ 1:30 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The McArthur man who the Vinton County Sheriff says is the prime suspect in a woman’s murder earlier this month has been arraigned on unrelated charges in Athens County, Ohio.

During a hearing Wednesday morning in Athens County Common Pleas court, Richard L. Puckett, 45, entered a plea of not guilty to an indictment charging him with aggravated robbery, grand theft of a firearm, assault, grand theft of a motor vehicle and escape.

The charges are related to an incident on March 8, when Puckett was being transported to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in a Vinton County Sheriff’s van. Prosecutors say he attempted to escape by disarming the deputy and then stealing the transport vehicle.

During the hearing Puckett’s bond was set at $160,000. His trial on these charges is set for May 10.

It will likely be several more weeks before we know if Puckett could be charged in connection with the murder of 46-year-old Robin Waldren.

Earlier this month Vinton County Sheriff Shawn Justice said that Puckett was the “key and only person of interest” in her murder.

Waldren’s body was found March 1 hidden on property at a home along Carpenter Road in the Richland Township area of Vinton County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/23/12 @ 10 a.m.
VINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- It will likely be another 3 to 4 weeks before we know if Richard Puckett could be charged in connection with the murder of 46-year-old Robin Waldren.

Earlier this month Vinton County Sheriff Shawn Justice said that Puckett was the “key and only person of interest” in the murder.

Waldren’s body was found March 1 hidden on property at a home along Carpenter Road in the Richland Township area of Vinton County.

Justice tells WSAZ.com that investigators are now waiting on lab and evidence results to come back from BCI before taking the next step in the case. The Sheriff says once the results are back he will present the case to the Vinton County Prosecutor for possible charges.

Puckett, who is from McArthur, is currently in jail in Athens County on an unrelated escape charge.

Thursday, Puckett was indicted in Athens County for aggravated robbery, escape, grand theft of a firearm, grand theft of motor vehicle and assault on a peace officer. If convicted on those charges he could face up to 16 years in jail. He is set to be arraigned next week.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn says Puckett was returning to the SEORJ in Nelsonville, in a Vinton Sheriff's Office van on March 8 when he got into an altercation with the deputy who was driving and tried to take his gun.

Prosecutor Blackburn says the deputy was able to keep possession of the gun but crashed the van during confrontation.

Blackburn says after the crash, the deputy exited the van and Puckett somehow got into the drivers seat and began driving. The deputy fired his gun, hitting one of the van’s tires. Puckett then stopped and was restrained by several police officers who responded to the scene.

Sheriff Justice tells WSAZ.com that Puckett was handcuffed in the front passenger seat of the van when the incident happened.

Justice says the deputy had a pocket tape recorder and was trying to see if Puckett would give a voluntary statement about the murder. Puckett had been at the Sheriff’s Office taking a polygraph test.

The Sheriff says as a result of the escape attempt, the procedure for transporting prisoners has been changed.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest with this story.



UPDATE 3/9/12 @ 12 p.m.
VINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Vinton County Sheriff tells WSAZ.com that a man from McArthur is the “key and only person of interest” in the murder of 46-year-old Robin Waldren.

Waldren’s body was found last Thursday afternoon, hidden on property at a home along Carpenter Road in the Richland Township area of Vinton County.

The Sheriff’s Office says they received a call earlier that morning from Tina Puckett, who lived at that residence, concerning a missing, possibly endangered female.

Sheriff Shawn Justice tells WSAZ.com that Richard Puckett, 45, is the person of interest in the murder. Justice says the BCI is still evaluating evidence and he expects the case to be presented to a grand jury in the near future.

Puckett was arrested on an unrelated domestic violence charge last Thursday. He is currently in Southeast Ohio Regional Jail, where he now faces a number of charges relating to an attempted escape last Friday.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn says Puckett was returning to the SEORJ in Nelsonville, in a Vinton Sheriff's Office van, when he got into an altercation with the deputy who was driving and tried to take his gun.

Prosecutor Blackburn says the deputy was able to keep possession of the gun -- but crashed the van during confrontation.

Blackburn says after the crash, the deputy exited the van, and Puckett somehow got into the drivers seat and began driving. The deputy fired his gun, hitting one of the van’s tires. Puckett then stopped and was restrained by several police officers who responded to the scene.

Puckett was arraigned on aggravated robbery charges in Athens Municipal Court Friday afternoon.

His bond was set $160,000. Puckett also waived to the grand jury They are set to meet later this month.

He has not been charged in connection with the Vinton County murder. The domestic violence charge was dismissed due to the more serious charges in Athens County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/2/12 @ 6:30 p.m.
VINTON COUNTY, Oh (WSAZ) -- No suspects, no persons of interest yet as an intense murder investigation continues in Vinton County, Ohio.

That’s where a woman's body was found Thursday afternoon - hidden away on a rural home property.

WSAZ.com reports from a crime scene that's no stranger to 911 calls.

Sheriff Shawn Justice starts us out; “She had come home and saw some things that gave her a little bit of concern and Robin wasn't there.

The she the Vinton County Sheriff is referring to is Tina Puckett, who would not talk to us on camera. Tina lives in this house on Carpenter Road just outside Allensviille

Tina said when she returned home Thursday morning, the inside has all the elements of a crime scene - and her friend staying over - 46 year old Robin Waldren - was missing and unreachable.

Tina says she called 911. After an initial search, the sheriff called the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation They came in and helped find Robin Waldren's body - hidden away on a so far undisclosed part of the property.

We asked Sheriff Justice: “Can you tell us how robin was killed? – "No. But we've had numerous domestic violence complaints there.”

Tina Puckett says she recently filed for divorce, and earlier in the week filed a restraining order against her husband.

The sheriff says the husband was arrested Thursday night on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge after the two had an altercation in town

But the sheriff says the husband is not a suspect or a person of interest in the homicide case.

Sheriff Justice says he’s; “just one of numerous people we are talking to right now.”

Sheriff Justice says this is a very active and ongoing homicide investigation.

Robin Waldren's body was taken to the Franklin County Coroner for an autopsy.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/1/12
VINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The body of a missing woman has been found, and investigators are looking at her death as a homicide.

Vinton County Sheriff Shawn Justice says Robin Waldren, 46, was found dead Thursday afternoon.

Sheriff Justice says Waldren’s body had been hidden on the property of a home along Carpenter Road in the Richland Township area.

Justice says the Sheriff’s Office received a call just after 7 a.m. from a lady at the residence concerning a missing, possibly endangered female.

No details about how Waldren died are being released right now.

Her body has been sent to the Franklin County Coroner for an autopsy

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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