Speaking in court before the sentence, the Star Tribune reported, Richard said, "“I’m truly sorry. I never meant for any of this to happen. I really do apologize."
Update (3:30 p.m. Tuesday): Washington County Attorney Pete Orput issued a statement Tuesday afternoon: “It’s important that this tragedy has come to a conclusion, at least insofar as the criminal justice system is concerned. Clearly nothing we can do can adequately deal with this loss.”
Richard was initially charged with second-degree murder, but the Washington County Attorney’s Office dismissed that charge after the medical examiner could not rule McCloud's death a homicide because he fell in the hospital while being treated for his head injuries.
Richard pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of first-degree assault in September.
After McCloud went through the intensive care unit at Regions Hospital, “he apparently rolled out of his hospital bed and landed on his head again," Washington County Attorney Pete Orput has said.
Prosecutors alleged that Richard and McCloud argued over a spilled drink, and that Richard was seen repeatedly punching McCloud in the face and head, causing him to fall and strike his head on the ground.
According to the complaint, McCloud suffered several skull fractures and intracranial bleeding causing respiratory failure and, ultimately, his death on Oct. 4, 2012.
Related at Stillwater Patch (reverse chronological order):
- Eric Richard Arrested for Violating Conditions of Release
- Eric Richard Pleads Guilty to Assault Charge
- Eric Richard Pleads Not Guilty to Assault Charges
- Prosecutors Dismiss Murder Charges Stemming from Bar Fight
- Pretrial Hearing Continued as Prosecutors Wait for an Official Cause of Death
- Eric Richard Makes First Court Appearance in Murder Case
- Stillwater Man Remains Critical after Assault at Pirate Bar