Wife of Clarkston rape and murder suspect says her husband is innocent

The wife of a Clarkston man accused of raping and murdering a 69-year-old woman told KHQ on Monday that her husband is innocent. 53-year-old Basir Muhammad was arrested last week for the rape and murder of Ina Richardson. Muhammad, also known as Billy Joe Dallas, appeared in an Asotin County courtroom on Monday and was supposed to enter a plea in the case, but instead had his arraignment pushed back to next week.

KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus was in the courtroom during Muhammad's court appearance, and afterwards he spoke with Muhammad's wife, Detra.

Detra said she believes her husband of six years is innocent and laughed when he was arrested while telling police her husband is not a murderer.

Detra said her husband has a criminal history and is a registered sex offender, but that's in his past and he has recently turned his life around.

Richardson's body was found lying on the side of an access road to Chestnut Beach in Clarkston on November 7, 2014. Police said Richardson didn't have any clothes on and her feet appeared to have been cleaned, indicating she was dumped at the location. Autopsy results showed Richardson was beaten, raped and strangled to death.

Detectives spent the next few days piecing together evidence they found at the crime scene, along with video surveillance evidence that seemed to document Richardson's last night alive.

A witness told detectives he was asked by Richardson for a ride home on November 6, 2014 from Albertsons, however the witness told Richardson he was not heading in her direction. According to police, surveillance video from Albertsons shows Richardson walking towards a car in the parking lot, followed by the headlights coming on, and then driving away. Police said it was the last time Richardson was seen alive.

Detectives said the car seen driving off was very distinctive. It was a "box-style" older American made vehicle, with a dark driver's side hubcap, and a chrome one on the rear. Three days after the discovery of Richardson's body, a Clarkston City Police Officer made a traffic stop on a car matching the description of the one seen in the surveillance video. The driver of the car, 53-year-old Basir B. Muhammad, told the officer he had driven home from his job at a local hotel on November 6, 2014 and was not in the parking lot of Albertsons. Muhammad told the officer there is another car in the area that looks like his.

Detectives believed Muhammad was involved in Richardson's murder and obtained a search and seizure warrant for his car. Muhammad's car was scheduled to be searched on November 12, 2014, but detectives said they found condoms, KY lubricant and a box of blue latex gloves in the trunk.

During his first interview with detectives, Muhammad maintained that he went straight home after work and was not in the Albertsons parking lot. When detectives told him they had video evidence showing the contrary, Muhammad admitted that he went Albertsons to see his friend. When detectives asked Muhammad's friend if he had seen him that night, Muhammad's friend said he had not.

Muhammad used to work at Albertsons and told detectives he had seen Richardson during his employment, but said he only spoke with her one time in a group setting. Muhammad said the last time he saw Richardson was several weeks prior to her murder. Detectives said they have video evidence showing Muhammad and Richardson having a 7 minute conversation outside of Albertsons on October 31, 2014.

Because Muhammad is already a registered sex offender (Level 1), when asked about submitting a DNA sample, he informed detectives his DNA was already in the state's system. Muhammad then said he would not take a polygraph test and asked for his attorney. Officers arrested Muhammad the next day at his home.

Following his arrest, detectives interviewed Muhammad's wife Detra, who maintained he came home after work the night Richardson was murdered, but said maybe it was a little later than usual. Detectives then told Detra they had obtained a search warrant on Muhammad's phone and found that there were 18 phone calls the night of Richardson's murder between 12:17am and 2:00am between Muhammad and Detra. Court documents said after hearing that, Detra began to cry and said she would tell the truth.

Detra said on the night Richardson was murdered she woke up in the early morning hours and realized Muhammad was not home. She began calling him. She said Muhammad told her his car wouldn't start and he was on his way home, but later, when he still wasn't home, she kept calling him to see where he was.

Court records show Detra continued to cry and apologize to officers for not telling them the information before. Detra said she eventually reached her husband again by phone and he told her he was in the parking lot of their apartment building, but he still didn't come in and she said it sounded like he was fumbling with things.

Detra told detectives when her husband finally did come home, he was "agitated" and was being "evasive." Detra told detectives in their six years of marriage, nothing like this had happened before. According to court documents, Muhammad told his wife he had stayed out to have a drink with his co-workers, and Detra told detectives her husband smelled like alcohol.

According to court documents, Detra also told detectives after her husband came home and they were getting ready for bed, she saw him pull a used condom out of his pocket. Detra said Muhammad denied it was a condom and said it was a latex glove.

Muhammad has been in jail since his arrest, and his bail was set at $1 million. His arraignment is now scheduled for sometime next week.