'Free Willy' Actor Jason James Richter Sentenced to Jail for Domestic Battery

Former child actor Jason James Richter, who starred in Free Willy in 1993, has been sentenced to jail following his domestic violence arrest in October.

According to court records obtained by The Blast, Richter has been sentenced to four days in a Los Angeles County jail as well as 36 months' probation after he pleaded no contest to a vandalism charge on Nov. 29. He will also be required to enroll in a year-long domestic violence treatment program within 30 days and has been ordered to pay fines and fees, including restitution to the victim.

Richter has already served two days of in jail following his arrest and was given "good time/worktime" for the other two." He is currently listed as "on probation," Entertainment Tonight reports.

The actor had initially been arrested on Oct. 15 following an argument with his girlfriend at their San Fernando Valley home. According to law enforcement sources, Richter had asked her if she was having an affair with a co-worker, causing an argument to break out between them. Richter eventually left but later returned, breaking down a bedroom door where the girlfriend had locked herself. He then allegedly "grabbed her" and pulled her into the living room.

Four hours later, Richter's girlfriend filed a police report and Richter was arrested for domestic violence and booked in Van Nuys, California. He was released two days later on $20,000 bail and was charged with two misdemeanors, one for domestic battery and one for vandalism.

Following his arrest, Richter's rep released a statement to Entertainment Tonight.

"Jason and his girlfriend were involved in an argument that unfortunately escalated to the point where police were called," the statement read. "However, Jason vehemently denies any physical altercation. He is devastated that anyone has been led to believe otherwise. Jason was released of his own recognizance, the police found no visible marks or bruises and there is every reason to believe that these false charges will be dropped."


Richter's lenient sentence came as a result of a plea deal that the actor had reached last month after he initially pleaded not guilty to the vandalism charge and was found guilty. After reaching a plea deal, in which he changed his plea regarding the vandalism charge from not guilty to no contest, the charge for domestic battery was dismissed.

Richter starred as Jesse in Free Willy in 1993 as well as in its sequels, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home and Free Willy 3: The Rescue. He later stepped away from acting, with his only role in 10 years being opposite Kate Hudson in 2001's Ricochet River. In 2009, he acted in Tekken and appeared on the TV show Bones.