Vermont court records show Richard Darling had quite a criminal history. Between 1999 and 2009, he was charged with 27 misdemeanors and two felonies. He also underwent at least two mental evaluations in the state.
But it was in Colorado where Darling really made his mark, on Halloween night in 2015.
Around 10:35 p.m., according to the Aurora Police Department, officers responded to a reported homicide in a field along Toll Gate Creek, site of a homeless encampment.
On arrival, they found both a dead body and an adult male who was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant. That was Richard Darling, and he soon became a person of interest in the case.
Several days later, he was arrested and charged with killing Rey Pesina, then dismembering and “filleting” his body before putting it in a barrel and setting it ablaze.
The call to the police had come from Candace Chamberlain, who told them she’d had sexual relationships with both men. She led officers to the underpass where the murder occurred. There, they found a burning 55-gallon drum and another woman, Lenora Cole, who said she was Darling’s wife and claimed to have witnessed what happened.
Cole said that after Darling learned of Pesina’s involvement with Chamberlain, the two men started fighting. Things escalated to a point at which Darling shot his rival in the head.
The arrest report gives details of what happened next: “Ms. Cole advised she then observed Richard Alan Darling repeatedly striking the neck of Rey Pesina’s torso, which was missing the arms and legs, severing his head from his torso. Ms. Cole described Richard Alan Darling as ‘filleting’ the body, and striking the head with a hatchet after it was severed from the torso.”
Next, Darling told Cole to dispose of the victim’s head, but she said she refused to do so.
For whatever reason, the head wasn’t among the body parts recovered at the site. Investigators found a variety of bones in the barrel, including a scapula and part of a spinal column. Officers at the grisly scene also discovered chunks of tissue and “a piece of tattooed skin floating in the water.” Later, they were able to connect Darling to a .22-caliber rifle and other items of evidence found where he stayed.
Several other witnesses recounted seeing Pesina shot and/or attacked with a hatchet.
Darling had told others living at the camp that Pesina was “disrespecting him,” and on more than one occasion, had threatened to return to the camp with “friends” and “guns.” He also claimed that the victim had punched Chamberlain, Pesina’s ex, in the face earlier that day.
Richard Darling is in jail without bond, awaiting trial on a charge of first degree murder.