Pair charged in 2012 Richmond death plead guilty

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Two of the three defendants in the May 2012 death of a Richmond woman pleaded guilty Monday to lesser counts and await sentencing.

James Gant and Lauren Gabbard accepted plea agreements in which charges against them were reduced in exchange for their testimony against Brandon Simpson, the third suspect in the strangulation death of Michelle Rhueport, 40.

According to the court record, police discovered Rheuport’s body just after 7 a.m. May 23, 2012 in a bedroom of her home at 411 Farris St.

A police investigator said her hands and feet had been bound and a plastic bag placed over her head and tied around the neck. Officers attempted to revive her, as did medical staff that arrived at the home, without success.

Police never alleged that either Gant or Gabbard was present when Rheuport died, but both knew, prosecutors charge, that Simpson allegedly planned to enter the residence to burglarize it.


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