911 tapes show Richardson took sleeping pills, said it was ‘too late’

House Speaker Glenn Richardson called his parents in Douglas County last Sunday and told them he had taken sleeping pills and that it “was too late to do anything,” according to the 911 recording of the call.

Richardson’s mother, Merty, called 911 on Nov. 8 and said her son was conscious and breathing but said he purposely took the pills. According to a police report issued late Monday, Richardson was found in his bathroom with a “silver revolver sitting on the counter in front of him.” Richardson was semi-conscious and did not respond to verbal commands.

There was also a suicide note on yellow paper and another note “related to the suicide,” although details were not included in the report released by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.

Richardson issued a news release late Friday in which he acknowledged he had tried to kill himself. He said he  has suffered from depression for more than two years since becoming estranged and then divorced from his wife, Susan, was regularly seeing a physician and was taking prescription medication.

According to the incident report, Richardson was taken to a Paulding County hospital.

Mary Ann Burdette, 39, of Acworth, was listed on the report as a witness. When reached late Monday she said she was a “close family friend and at this time I would rather not give a comment.”

A Georgia House employee, who has spoken to Richardson, said Monday that Richardson seemed encouraged by his recovery and was “feeling much better.” He indicated that he had no plans to resign from the House or the speakership and that friends and family were keeping him company.

Richardson is speaking Monday evening at a fund raiser in south Georgia for  Rep. Ed Rynders (R-Albany).

“This is a small private gathering of friends of Ed Rynders and he wants to support his caucus member and long time friend,” Richardson’s spokesman Marshall Guest said. ” The speaker intends to maintain a limited schedule.”

As speaker of the House, Richardson commands great authority to influence nearly every facet of state policy and an annual state budget of more than than $18.5 billion.

Richardson has not spoken to the media since the attempted suicide, although in the past year he has largely quit speaking with reporters.

In his statement last week, Richardson said he was “thankful that because of medical intervention I have instead been able to now receive help and support.”

“I fully believe this has and will continue to push me to find my best self and use my position of leadership to raise awareness and let others know they are not alone. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers,” he said.

Suicide prevention organizations praised Richardson for coming forward and admitting to his troubles.

“We hope his courage will bring much-needed awareness to this public health crisis,” said Christina Owens, area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in metro Atlanta.

Suicide and mental disorders such as depression, she said, “are surrounded by stigma and misconceptions which prevent many people from seeking the help they desperately need.”

Richardson and his wife divorced in February 2008, a year after Democrats publicly accused him of an inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist.

Richardson is a former county attorney for Paulding County and is currently a board member of WestSide Bank in Hiram, a 3-year-old institution that is reeling from real estate losses, like many Georgia banks. WestSide lost nearly $3 million in the third quarter and saw its pool of bad loans reach about $19 million. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Marietta Republican, is also on the board.

Richardson was elected to the state House in 1996, and in 2003, Republicans elected Richardson minority leader. When the GOP took over the House following the 2004 elections, Richardson was chosen as speaker. As speaker, Richardson has worked to grow the Republican majority while the GOP has learned to govern. Richardson has consolidated power and on occasion has punished fellow Republicans who did not back his moves.

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29 comments Add your comment

[...] Gould Sheinin of the AJC has details on the 911 call that alerted Paulding County authorities to House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s Nov. 8 suicide [...]

Eleanor

November 16th, 2009
5:14 pm

While my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family; while depression is truly an illness and should be treated as such and no stigma attached; he is still a bully and should step down. His separation and divorce is a result of his actions and nothing else. My heart is with his children.

[...] Full details can be at Gold Dome Live, but below is a rush transcript of the 911 call made by Glenn Richardson’s mother Merty at about 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, to report that the speaker of the House had overdosed on sleeping pills: Operator: Paulding County 911. What is the address of your emergency? [...]

What a Fraud

November 16th, 2009
6:14 pm

Enter your comments here

A neighbor of his

November 16th, 2009
6:21 pm

He’s my neighbor and seems to be a good person – friendly, funny and kind. We do not share political views but I like him. Having been treated for depression, I know how debilitating it can be… my heart goes out to him.

Jarrod S.

November 16th, 2009
6:27 pm

Wow Joe, way to make an @$$ out of yourself, praise God this man is still alive and that he will now receive a second chance at life, forget the politics. Where I am from in N.E Georgia people can put aside your actions and feel for you when something terrible almost happens. I wish people would grasp such morals today! We can worry about the politics later, I hope he feels the love and compassion from this state and his LIFE not career BUT LIFE is forever changed. Godbless him and may the Lord work on your hardened heart sir!

Jarrod S.
The University of Georgia
Class of 2010

Aaron Gould Sheinin

November 16th, 2009
6:41 pm

Folks, I’ve had to set comments to requiring moderator approval on this post because it’s absolutely gotten out of hand. Sorry to those of you expressing yourself in an acceptable way. I’ll try and keep up with incoming comments through the late evening. — Aaron Gould Sheinin asheinin@ajc.com

nancy

November 16th, 2009
7:05 pm

Suicide is a serious issue and does not need to be taken lightly. People do not need to mock Mr. Richardson. It could happen to your friends and your family members too and I doubt you would be making rude remarks about them. Who cares what party he belongs too?

Sofia

November 16th, 2009
7:22 pm

Let me just say very simply that depression sucks. It is debilitatingl and paralyzing. Thank god he called his parents snd is still alive. Now he can get the help that he needs. Life is so worth livong, but depression makes you believe differently.

Tessa

November 16th, 2009
7:29 pm

I don’t know Mr. Richardson’s politics, but I DO know the pain and sadness that precipitates a suicide attempt. Pick yourself up, Glenn, and get back on the horse. We’re riding beside you.

James H.

November 16th, 2009
8:22 pm

Whether or not you agree with his politics, Glenn Richardson is a good man. He is a very loving father to his children. He attends most games/events that they are in and I know for a fact that his kids adore him. Depression is a disease that can be dealt with and I thank God that He has given Glenn a second chance.

dagnabit

November 17th, 2009
5:25 am

So the speaker of the house is mentally unstable. He’s a republican. We knew that already.

ania

November 17th, 2009
6:21 am

Interesting that u would moderate these comments but let people speak willy nilly about our President.

P in Paulding

November 17th, 2009
7:01 am

God bless you Glenn. May your heart guide you through your troubles and may God lift you up for your greatness. Depression is a hard thing to deal with and I hope you are getting better.

[...] Details of the incident from Paulding County law enforcement authorities, as reported in this morning’s AJC, can be found here. [...]

Jessica

November 17th, 2009
10:48 am

My heart goes out to Speaker Richardson. Life can be tough but if you just believe that everything will work out in the end, you can make it. Speaker Richardson, you are going to be fine. It might take some time, but trust me, this too shall pass. God bless you and your family. Stand strong and watch God work things out for you.

Friend

November 17th, 2009
11:20 am

I’ve know Mr. Richardson for a long time and he is a good man. We all need to put aside political views in a time like this and focus on his well-being. Stay stong pal…you have a lot of people that love you and support you!

Base

November 17th, 2009
7:33 pm

Blind ambition has its price and it is high.He begs for mercy but give none when he had the opportunity.He needs prayers that his heart will change.The ultra right repubs hitch to a falling star.

jdawg

November 17th, 2009
9:20 pm

I wish Glenn the best….I recently joked with him, that the job must be demanding…and he could have it. Hopefully, he will be on the road to recovery, and resolution. This is not about Democrats and Republicans….this is about life…

mikey

November 17th, 2009
11:30 pm

some sick-o has started a web site about this stuff…www.glennrichardsonsuicide.com it’s very tasteless and should be taken down, in my opinion.

Close This Comment Section

November 18th, 2009
6:09 am

It is inappropriate to have an open comment section for individuals to comment on others illness and tragedy. Regardless of one’s political views, it is sad to see another person touched by serious illness.
Depression is a serious illness and can be treated. Good Luck Mr. Richardson.

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November 20th, 2009
9:24 am

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nwga mn sx

December 1st, 2009
9:15 pm

Everybody feels sorry for him????,I think he is a manipulator, he was probably given everything in life,starting at a very early age and doesnt know what to do when he doesnt get his way,or gets caught with his hand in the cookiejar. I do hope he receives proper help,but if you play with fire youre gonna get burned.

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December 1st, 2009
9:17 pm

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nwga mn sx

December 1st, 2009
9:19 pm

Oh and have a blessed day

Renee

December 1st, 2009
9:49 pm

Ms,Richardson shows class,and maturity and good mental health,he just sounds like a bully,he will get what he deserves,I hope she finds a descent man to share her life with.Unfortunately he knows his way around the “good ole boy” system!

[...] when Speaker Glenn Richardson told House Republicans in a conference call that he’d tried to kill himself a few days earlier, in part because he was distraught over his divorce last year. Over the next [...]