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Killer of accused child abuser gets 50 years for, he says, making world a ‘safer place for the children’

Press-Enterprise - 2/21/2024

In September 2020, Richard Shane Hampton called his mother from the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning with a “really, really” important request.

Hampton spelled out the name of a fellow inmate — “R-o-s-e-n-d-o E-c-h-e-v-a-r-r-i-a” — and asked her to look up what he was in for. Hampton’s mother said it was child abuse.

Court records show that Echevarria was charged with four felony counts of molesting a child younger than 14 years old.

“Don’t get involved in it,” Hampton’s mother warned.

“No choice,” her son responded.

The call was captured on a recording and referred to in a court sentencing brief.

Three days after that call, on Sept. 8, Echevarria, 29, was dead.

Hampton was seen on jail video after the attack receiving congratulations from other inmates.

“Seven hours later, the defendant was in a holding cell when a correctional deputy walked in,” according to the sentencing brief filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office in the murder case against Hampton. “The defendant told that correctional deputy that he (the defendant) made the world a safer place for the children.”

Hampton, 40, was in the Banning facility facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon, arson and vandalism. He was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison on Feb. 2, 2024, for first-degree murder.

A man accused of being an accomplice, Jason Lynn Barton, 46, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and is due back in court on March 1. A second accused accomplice, Aaron Allen Aubrey, 29, killed himself in jail in December.

Many inmates consider pedophiles to be the lowest of the low — worse, even, than snitches.

How Hampton suspected that Echevarria was a child molester was unclear.

“Inmates have the ability to contact individuals outside of custody and ask them to check publicly available sources on the internet for information,” said Sgt. Wenndy Brito-Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department, which operates Riverside County’s jails. “Additionally, inmates go to court with other inmates and may hear about each other’s legal issues.”

Brito-Gonzalez added that department policy prohibits employees from providing such information to inmates.

The District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the question, citing the ongoing case, said John Hall, a department spokesman.

More than three people appeared to be in on the attack, according to the sentencing brief written by Deputy District Attorney Gerald Pfohl.

Hampton was in Housing Unit 14, Dayroom C on Sept. 8 when Aubrey spread a blanket over the top of two bunk beds, obscuring the view of the lower beds.

Soon after, Echevarria sat down between the bunk beds.

“The defendant (Hampton) sat on the lower bed of the bunk and began to assault Echevarria on the lower bed of the bunk,” the court document says. “Barton began to assault Echevarria, grabbing a cane from the upper bunk rail of a bed.”

The assault continued.

Hampton and Barton then left and washed up while Aubrey placed Echevarria on a bunk bed and put a blanket over him, the sentencing brief says. Barton used towels to wipe down the area by the bunk beds, rinsed them out and threw them — by now bloody — into a plastic trash bag, the brief says.

Brito-Gonzalez did not answer a question about why correctional deputies did not notice the attack.

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