Man who shot stepson: ‘I’m sorry’, then sentenced to prison

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Richard Denton, 73, has been sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for shooting his stepson.

Richard Denton sentenced to 1.5 years 

By Jon Johnson

“I’ve caused so much pain. I am truly, truly sorry to everybody I hurt.”

Richard Denton

SAFFORD – A remorseful shooting suspect spoke during his sentencing Tuesday and apologized to those he wounded, both physically and emotionally. 

Richard Ferrell Denton, 73, was then sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for the shooting of his stepson in a stipulated plea agreement. 

On Tuesday, Graham County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Travis W. Ragland formally accepted the plea and handed down its sentence. The prosecution was handled by Graham County Deputy County Attorney Garet Kartchner and Denton was represented by defense attorney Dennis McCarthy. 

Denton was initially charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct with a weapon, and endangerment/domestic violence, however, his plea agreement amended the first count to attempted aggravated assault/domestic violence – a class-4 felony – and dismissed the second count. 

Judge Ragland sentenced Denton to a stipulated mitigated sentence of 1.5 years in prison on the amended assault charge to be followed up with a three-year standard supervised probation tail on the endangerment charge, which is a class-6 felony. The length of the probation term was up to the court.

The charges stem from an incident on Sept. 17, 2022, where Denton shot his stepson. According to a factual basis previously given to the court by McCarthy, officers responded to a residence on San Jose Road in Solomon regarding a man who had been shot in the hand. Upon arrival, the victim informed the officers he was shot by Denton.

The victim was then treated at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center and released. 

During a police interview, Denton allegedly admitted shooting his stepson because he was “a prick and he wanted him out of the house.” Denton described kicking the window-unit AC out of the window and then entering the bedroom and shooting the victim in the arm. He allegedly said he wasn’t intentionally trying to kill the victim and that he was just shooting to scare him and was aiming over his head.

After the shooting, Denton drove himself to the Graham County Adult Detention Facility but the front door was locked so he left the area on foot. Soon after he was taken into custody as he walked along 8th Avenue. He also allegedly told a deputy that he had gone to the jail to turn himself in and locked up his truck with the keys in it so he wouldn’t commit further attacks. “I just didn’t want to hurt anyone else,” Denton allegedly told investigators.

During sentencing, Denton was also ordered to pay $6,010.05 in restitution to the victim.