Prosecutors: Man murdered over $500 bet to chug bottle of whiskey
BY DAN ROZEK AND BETH KRAMER Staff Reporters August 30, 2011 6:30PM
Robert "Bobby" L. Bostic, 70, was arrested in Roane County, Tenn., in connection with a murder committed on June 25, 1982, in Round Lake Beach.
Updated: November 4, 2011 6:59PM
Robert Bostic downed a fifth of Jack Daniels in one long swig to win a $500 bet, then became irate when Carlton Richmond couldn’t immediately pay up, Lake County prosecutors said Tuesday.
Bostic ended that 1982 dispute by gunning down the 31-year-old Richmond as he sat in the Round Lake Beach hangout of “The Wheelmen,” a motorcycle club to which Bostic belonged, prosecutors alleged as his murder trial opened.
He wasn’t charged with the June 25, 1982, killing until earlier this year — mostly because some club members refused initially to cooperate with police, Lake County authorities have said.
“They did a really good job because the defendant was not charged for a long time,” Ken LaRue, assistant state’s attorney, told jurors.
Bostic, now 71, was arrested in January only after four witnesses allegedly named him as the gunman, though since his arrest authorities have said some have recanted their purported statements about the shooting.
But recorded phone calls Bostic made from the Lake County Jail after his arrest show he was trying to persuade some people to change their testimony, LaRue said.
“Since then, this defendant has reached out to friends and family to get them to change their story,” LaRue said.
Some of those recorded calls are expected to be played Wednesday for the nine-woman, three-man jury hearing the case.
Kevin Williamson told jurors he was drinking at the clubhouse when he heard what he thought was a firecracker explode, then turned to see Bostic standing in front of Richmond.
“The S.O.B. shot me,” Williamson said, quoting what Richmond said as blood began seeping through the front of his shirt.
But Williamson testified he never saw Bostic with a handgun and didn’t hear any argument between Richmond and Bostic.
A former Round Lake Heights police officer who knew Bostic said he asked him in 1983 about the shooting and Bostic didn’t deny being involved.
“He said something to the effect of ‘s--- happens,’ ” said John Tesch, who said he was involved with another local motorcycle club before becoming a police officer.
A longtime family friend testified he heard Bostic admit that he shot someone, then threw the gun in a nearby lake. “He said he had just killed a man,” said James Price, 42, who is a former friend of Bostic’s son.
But Price insisted that conversation occurred in 1989 — not in 1982 when Richmond was shot.
“He said it was the night before,” Price said of the timing of the slaying.
Defense attorneys Joe and Michael Salvi denied Bostic killed Richmond, noting that no physical evidence ties him to the slaying.
“Robert Bostic is innocent,” Joe Salvi said.