Ridgeland man charged with wife's murder - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Ridgeland man charged with wife's murder

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RIDGELAND, SC (WTOC) -

A shocking homicide case in Ridgeland, unlike any that police department has ever been confronted with before.  

Investigators say they have their suspect after the wife was found dead inside the home, the couple's young children looking on.

The more I asked around, the more I realized this may be a case with more questions than answers. It all started early Friday morning when police responded to a shots fired call on East Main Street.

"The first officers on-scene discovered a male subject on the front porch, a female was deceased inside the living room on the couch, having suffered an apparent gunshot wound,” said Sgt. Chris McIntosh, Ridgeland Police Department.

That man is 37-year-old Richard Passio, Jr., known to many as "Rock."  The victim, his wife, 33-year-old Michelle.

Police say Rock called 911 just before 6 a.m. on Friday, saying his wife was unresponsive after a series of gunshots.

Tuesday, police arrested Passio and charged him for murder after collecting evidence over the past several days.

"All that evidence was submitted to the 14th Circuit Solicitor's office. They discussed it, went over all the facts in the case, and ultimately we decided an arrest warrant would be issued,” said Sgt. McIntosh.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the case is the couple's eight children were all home at the time. The oldest is 13 years old and the youngest, born only 6 weeks ago.

"The children are in the custody of their grandparents in Ridgeland at this time,” Sgt. McIntosh said.

Passio and his wife had only lived in Ridgeland less than a year after moving from Ohio. They both worked at Jasper's Porch - a restaurant down the street owned by his father and co-managed by Passio's brother. When I went by there Wednesday, they said they were shocked and in disbelief.

That's what I heard from neighbors as well, none of whom wanted to go on-camera in this small town where word travels fast and violence like this is rare.

Police say they are not seeking any other suspects in the case. They're just awaiting for forensics to process evidence before the case heads to trial.

Wednesday night, Passio is being held at the Jasper County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

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