Ausley found strangled in prison cell

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Richard Allen Ausley, who in 1973 was convicted of burying a 13-year-old boy in a wooden box on Jackson Road and sexually molesting him for more than a week, was found dead Wednesday in the state prison cell he shared with another inmate.

Ausley is believed to have died around 10:30 or 11 p.m. Tuesday in Sussex State Prison in Waverly, where he had been housed since November. Both Ausley and his cellmate were in the cell during that period, said Larry Traylor, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

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Ausley’s body was discovered by a prison employee, Traylor said. The State Medical Examiner will be conducting the autopsy.

Traylor said Ausley appears to have been strangled. He refused further details pending the autopsy and the Department of Corrections’ investigation.

News of Ausley’s death shocked area prosecutors as well as his victim, Paul Martin Andrews, now in his 40s and a Miami-based computer technician.

&uot;This is not what I wanted for him,&uot; said Andrews, who said Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore’s office notified him of Ausley’s death on Wednesday. &uot;I don’t hate Richard Ausley,&uot;

Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Earle C. Mobley called Ausley’s death a sad ending to an even sadder story.

&uot;I’m just glad that it has finally come to an end,&uot; he added. &uot;We’re assured now that he’ll never harm anyone again.&uot;

Ausley’s crimes were properly handled by the state and he deserved to be kept away from society for the rest of his life, said Kilgore.

&uot;However, we have a legal system for a reason, and we cannot condone the circumstances of his death.&uot;

Before his move to Sussex, the 64-year old Ausley was serving his sentence at Brunswick Correctional Center. He could have been released from prison as early as March 2007.

The Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office said Ausley had suffered from serious health problems. Traylor said he was unable to comment on Ausley’s health issues because of privacy laws.

Ausley was sentenced to almost 48 years in prison in 1973. He abducted Andrews in Portsmouth, and then buried him in a wooden box in Suffolk. Ausley was scheduled for release from prison last November, but five years were added to his sentence in August after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting another teen in 1972.

That victim, Gary Founds of Portsmouth, is now in his 40s. He said he came forward only after hearing Ausley was to be released.

Ausley’s impending release prompted legislators to approve funding last year for the state’s civil commitment program for sexual predators. Andrews lobbied state legislators to pass the law, which allows authorities to hold offenders indefinitely in a secure treatment center after their prison terms end.

Kilgore’s office filed court papers to have Ausley committed after his release.

Ausley also had been convicted in 1961 of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old Suffolk boy and leaving him hogtied in the woods. He was sentenced to 26 years but was released on parole in November 1971.

Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Earle C. Mobley said his office was trying to contact Founds to let him know that Ausley is dead.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.