Robert Bostic, Whiskey Bet Murder Suspect, Convicted Of 1982 Slaying
Update: Robert Bostic was found guilty in the 1982 murder of Carlton Richmond Thursday afternoon and faces 20 to 60 years in prison, the Chicago Tribune reports. Bostic did not take the stand during the trial, which began Monday, and his attorneys declined to submit a defense.
Robert Bostic, 71, is accused of shooting a man who couldn’t immediately pay him the $500 bet he won by drinking a fifth of Jack Daniels whiskey in one swig, Lake County prosecutors said Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Although there were many witnesses in the Round Lake Beach, Ill. incident, Bostic wasn’t charged with the June 25, 1982 murder until earlier this year.
Authorities say the charge was postponed by Wheelman motorcycle club members who refused to cooperate with the police. Bostic was arrested in January after four witnesses named him as the gunman, though since his arrest some have recanted their statements, the Sun-Times reports. Recordings of Bostic's phone calls from the Lake County Jail after his arrest show he was trying to persuade witnesses to change their testimony, Ken LaRue, assistant state’s attorney, told the Sun-Times.
Round Lake Beach police officer Jim Craig recounted in court the scene when he entered the clubhouse nearly 30 years ago and asked the four men present who shot 31-year-old Carlton Richmond, who lay on the floor bleeding profusely, the Chicago Tribune reports. When the men silently continued drinking, Craig took cover and waited for backup.
Kevin Williamson, who was present the night of the shooting as a prospective member of the Wheelmen, testified that before Richmond died, he looked at Bostic and said “The S.O.B. shot me,” according to the Tribune.
Two other prosecution witnesses said they’d heard Bostic admit to shooting Richmond, according to the Tribune. John Tesch, the former president of another motorcycle group and a baseball coach for Bostic’s son Tony, said that in 1983 he asked Bostic if he killed the Richmond, a Pizza Hut manager at the time.
"I told him I heard he had been involved in the death of the pizza man and he said, '(expletive) happens,'" Tesch said, according to the Tribune.