Investigation Discovery’s ‘Obsession: Dark Desires: A Man and His Gun’ narrates the wrongdoings of convicted stalker Richard Petrick as he stalked and assaulted his ex, Michelle Fischer, in April 2010 after a year of continually harassing her. The episode underlines the trauma the survivor had gone through, helping viewers understand the thick line that separates love and obsession. So what did Richard Petrick do? Let’s find out.
Who is Richard Petrick?
Richard Petrick of Merrillville, Indiana, had been in the army, serving in two branches of the military, and was a combat veteran. He had been dating Michelle Fischer for quite some time and was living in her Frankfort Square home in Illinois with her and her young daughter. Michelle worked as a supervisor of legal secretaries at a Chicago law firm. It was working quite well up until a fateful day in mid-2007. On the show, Michelle mentioned Richard did not like her daughter at all.
Michelle further stated that Richard always complained about her daughter whenever she returned home from work, whining about how loud she was or the mess she had made with her friends. It started getting worse and worse until one day in 2007 he shouted at the young girl and was just short of hitting her, said Michelle. The scared girl immediately called her mother at work, and Michelle returned to break up with Richard and throw him out of her house.
Everything seemed quiet for a while. Michelle had even started dating again when Richard decided to return. In August 2009, after two years of their split, Richard called his ex-girlfriend and allegedly demanded $10,000 to leave her alone. She claimed that he had threatened her to give the money or something bad might happen to her and her family. Soon, Richard stood true to his threat and started calling, texting, and continually harassing her. The harassment got so worse that eventually, Michelle had to file a protective order against Richard in late 2009.
Richard was so unruly and rude in the hearing, even lurching at Michelle in front of the judge a couple of times, that the order was quickly granted. The court restricted Richard from contacting Michelle in any form whatsoever. But Richard continually violated the judicial order, showing up in front of her house, stalking her, and calling her repeatedly. The situation got out of hand in early 2010 as a paranoid Michelle started constantly looking over her shoulder, fearing that her ex might be lurching somewhere in the shadows.
Michelle admitted in the show that she was scared and her daughter as well as her erstwhile boyfriend dismissed it as paranoia. However, her worst fears came true when she spotted Richard parked in front of her house in February 2010. A panicked Michelle immediately called the cops on him and Richard was arrested while in possession of a pellet gun, a 10-inch hunting knife, a Winchester rifle, a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle, a box of ammunition, and binoculars. Richard was charged with aggravated stalking following his arrest; he was detained, convicted, and placed in jail.
However, Richard got released from jail in April 2010, out on bond, and Michelle came to know that he had again purchased weapons and ammunition with his credit card. A fearful Michelle installed a state-of-the-art alarm system in her home and had the police patrol the neighborhood. On April 9, 2010, Michelle saw Richard hiding in the bushes in front of her house at around 6 am. Panicking, she immediately ran over to lock the doors, as Richard forced himself into the house after shooting through the sliding glass patio door with a pellet gun.
Michelle called 911, fought Richard off, and fled through the front door, as Will County Sheriff’s deputies reached the scene. The officers thronged outside as Richard locked himself inside with Michelle’s young daughter. The terrified 23-year-old leaped out through a second-floor window, landing on the driveway. She suffered a concussion, whiplash, and broken vertebrae, as per news reports. Richard hid inside the home, opened a bottle of wine, and recorded a message on Michelle’s answering machine before he was shot and arrested.
Where is Richard Petrick Today?
Richard Petrick had refused to drop his weapon, shouting he had to be shot to be captured before an officer shot him through the eye. Richard miraculously survived the shooting and was tried and sentenced to 17 years in prison in August 2011. Richard wore an eye patch at the trial and pleaded guilty to felony aggravated stalking, home invasion, and aggravated assault charges. The judge took heed of his military service and absence of a prior criminal record before handing Richard the sentence.
It was predicted that Richard would be serving a minimum of 8 years of his sentence, factoring in good behavior as well as the prison time he had already served in the last one and half years. Post his dismissal, he will be required to face 3 years of mandatory supervised release, which will restrict him from contacting Michelle anytime during that period.
Michelle said, “It’s obvious that, emotionally, it’s never going to be enough (prison) time. If they said 100 years, I would’ve been happy with that.” As of 2022, it can be estimated that Richard had served his full sentence as well as his supervision period and is laying low someplace in Illinois, evading public attention.