Chula Vista Man Admits to Killing 3 Women

A Chula Vista man admitted Monday to killing his wife and mother-in-law and attempting to stage their deaths in a traffic collision three years ago.

Thao Richardson, 39, and her 72-year-old mother Phan Lai (pictured below) were found with gunshot wounds outside a car off Highway 67 near Lakeside on June 29, 2010.

Prosecutors alleged Michael Richardson, 60, killed his wife and mother-in-law perhaps when they discovered he had been having sex with his then-17-year-old niece.

Richardson also admitted to a third murder – that of his ex-girlfriend Jovita Collazo. Collazo and her 13-year-old daughter were living with Richardson in National City in 1992. In April of that year, Collaza, 38, was reported missing. Her body has never been found.

Richardson owned a Poway auto body shop at the time of his arrest. He and Thao Richardson had a daughter who was 7 years old at the time of her mother’s death.

Richardson had been convicted of armed robbery in North Carolina about 30 years ago, but escaped prison in 1982. Some time later he was recaptured, finished his North Carolina sentence, and wound up in San Diego on parole.

Richardson admitted to the special circumstance of multiple murders, a prior strike and a serious prior and had his three life terms doubled under California's "three strikes" law.

He was sentenced to six-consecutive life terms in prison without parole.

Contact Us