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updated: 9/1/2011 9:13 PM

Jury finds Bostic guilty in 1982 murder

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  • Robert 'Bobby' L. Bostic in a 2011 police mug shot.

    Robert 'Bobby' L. Bostic in a 2011 police mug shot.


Carlton Richmond's sister began weeping almost immediately Thursday when she left the Lake County courtroom where her brother's killer had been found guilty after 29 years.

"I am not so much happy that he is going to pay," said Nancy Ure, of Poplar Grove. "I am more happy that it is over and we have some closure."

Robert Bostic, now 71 years old and a shadow of his former self as a member of the Wheelman motorcycle club, will get a virtual life sentence when he returns to court Oct. 13 for sentencing.

It took a jury of nine women and three men less than two hours to find Bostic, of Kingston, Tenn., guilty of shooting Richmond to death on June 25, 1982, inside a Round Lake Beach garage that served as the motorcycle club's headquarters and bar.

A witness said he overheard Bostic say seven years after the shooting that Richmond had bet $500 that Bostic could not drink an entire bottle of Jack Daniels in one continuous swallow.

When Bostic did and Richmond could not back his bet with cash, Bostic fired a single shot into Richmond's chest. Richmond bled to death on the garage floor.

Bostic's attorney Michael Salvi attacked that witness, James Price, as a liar who concocted the story in order to greatly reduce his sentence on a felony conviction.

Price testified to the conversation on Wednesday, but surprised prosecutors when he said Bostic had said the murder had taken place just days before the conversation in 1989, not seven years earlier.

"James Price went off the script police had written for him," Salvi said. "They basically went to him and said if you testify for us you will not have to go back to jail."

Prosecutors Ken LaRue and Britta Peffer also had to overcome the difficulties presented by their witnesses Jeff Paradise and John Winandy who denied in court they had told Round Lake Beach police that Bostic was the killer.

Detective Gary Lunn had taken statements from both that led to Bostic being charged in January, but the men denied under oath they had told the tales attributed to them in Lunn's report.

Richmond's death went unsolved for nearly three decades until Round Lake Beach police announced that people who had originally stymied their investigation had provided statements naming Bostic as the shooter.

The strongest evidence prosecutors had against Bostic came from Bostic himself, who was tape recorded making phone calls from the jail in which he appeared to be asking for his family members to convince witnesses to lie for him.

In one such call, taped May 5 between Bostic and his brother Ralph Bostic, the defendant says "I don't know if we need anybody remembering anything, do we?"

In his closing argument, LaRue asked the jurors to analyze that statement.

"Is this the way an innocent man would talk," LaRue asked. "No, no, no; if you didn't do it, you want everybody to remember what happened the night of the murder."

Members of Bostic's family cried in the courtroom when the verdict was read, and declined to comment afterward.

Bostic, who will face a sentence of 20 to 60 years for the murder, will be held without bond until his sentencing date.