Weather Forecast


Suspect is charged with strangulation of Park Rapids woman

If convicted and sentenced to the maximum penalty, Richard Derek Wright will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Wright, 40, of Belleville, Mich., is accused of murdering a Park Rapids woman.

He was charged on Wednesday in Hubbard County District Court with second-degree murder, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and interfering with a 911 call. Combined, the maximum penalty for all charges is 91 years in prison and $48,000 in fines.

Wright is accused of murdering 40-year-old Sonya Hennagir of Park Rapids, who was found dead in a home at about 4 a.m. Tuesday, according to the criminal complaint against Wright. The cause of death has been determined to be asphyxia by strangulation.

Officers with the Park Rapids Police Department and deputies with the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office responded Tuesday morning to a 911 call on the 15900 block of Discovery Circle and found a woman lying on her back in the street and Wright on top of her, the complaint said. Wright walked away from law enforcement officers, who used a Taser to stop and detain him after he failed to comply with officers' commands.

The woman found in the street told officers she went to a home on that block in response to a text message she got from her friend, Hennagir, the complaint said. The woman told police she found Hennagir unresponsive in the living room.

The woman then began to search for Hennagir's 6-year-old daughter and found her with Wright, who was sexually assaulting the child, the complaint said.

The woman screamed when she saw Wright with the girl and ran to her car to call 911, the complaint said. While doing so, Wright came out of the house and threatened her before attacking the woman.

Wright took the woman's cell phone and choked her to the point where she lost consciousness, the complaint said.

Wright had worked as a foreman for a pipeline company in the Park Rapids area and knew Hennagir, Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne told the Fargo Forum.