On the day a Rhode Island judge sentenced a Weymouth man to two centuries of prison time, a mom thought she'd seen the end of man convicted of raping and kidnapping her son.
Instead, that sentence is gone and Richard Gardner is free, living in a Weymouth neighborhood. Now, that mom has advice for his neighbors.
"Go out and get a gun...their children are not safe. This guy is not going to stop," Cheryl Ellsworth told FOX25.
In 1988, prosecutors said Gardner broke into her home, abducted her 11-year-old son Michael Sykes, and sexually molested him.
"He just parked at the end of the street and walked down the road looking in windows until he found one with a child," said Ellsworth.
Michael was born with physical disabilities and was living with two forms of anemia. The 11-year-old faced constant struggles.
"He took a tire from the back of my garage and rolled it around to Michaels' window. He used that as a ladder. He cut the screen. He went in. And he pulled him out of his bed at knife point," she told FOX25.
He then took Michael to a wooded area and molested him, said Ellsworth.
The 11-year-old returned home the next day.
"He (Gardner) said he had kidnapped him with the intentions of killing him, but because he was a good kid and didn't fight him, he decided to let him go," Ellsworth told FOX25.
Gardner was arrested later when he abducted another Rhode Island boy. Michael's description of Gardner and his car helped lead to the arrest.
A Rhode Island judge sentenced him to 190 years in prison. But in 1992, the Rhode Island jury conviction was reversed and sent back to trial. Gardner pleaded guilty and got a much shorter sentence, and with time served it ended up being about 20 years.
Michael Sykes died in 1991 at just 13. Ellsworth believes that Gardner's attack greatly affected her son's already precarious health and resulted in his death.
"Just as long as Richard Gardner is on the street, nobody's children are safe," she said.
Just a week after his release from prison, Gardner was issued a summons for reportedly going into the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy. According to Quincy city ordinances, registered sex offenders are prohibited from entering schools, libraries or daycares unless previously authorized.
Cox Media Group