Man charged with open murder in 38-year-old Edwardsburg cold case
Published 9:11 am Tuesday, May 10, 2016
CASSOPOLIS — A 56-year-old South Bend man has been charged with open murder for allegedly shooting his cousin over a drug dispute in Edwardsburg nearly 40 years ago.
Raymond Robert Richmond maintains he is innocent, according to his attorney Paul Jancha. The death of Robert Stasiak was originally ruled a suicide until police recently reopened the case.
“My position is there is not a basis for the charge being brought,” said Jancha during Richmond’s arraignment hearing Monday afternoon in Cass County Court. “He does deny the charges he is facing and there will likely be a trial.”
Judge Stacey Rentfrow denied bond and set a pre-exam conference for May 19 and a preliminary examination for May 25.
Prosecutor Victor Fitz said he intends to prove that Richmond shot Stasiak in the chest with a long rifle on Nov. 2, 1977, because he was angry that his cousin had flushed his marijuana down he toilet. The incident took place in Stasiak’s parents residence on May Street.
Fitz described Richmond as a man with a long history of substance abuse and said he was intoxicated at the time of the offense. Fitz also said Richmond allegedly shot Stasiak, left the residence and then returned the next day to find him.
“This was an incident where an individual was literally killed in a drug and anger fueled episode,” Fitz said.
Although Fitz would not talk much about his strategy for trying the case, he did say that Richmond admitted to killing Stasiak at least five times.
A probable cause affidavit obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Leader Publications said that Richmond admitted to killing Stasiak during a 1993 telephone conversation with Stasiak’s widow and daughter. The same document also said that Richmond allegedly admitted to the murder in verbal and written statements made to staff at Oaklawn Hospital in Goshen, Indiana.
The affidavit went on to say that Richmond confirmed these admissions to Chief Timothy Kozal, of the Ontwa Township-Edwardsburg Police Department, in a Jan. 27, 2016, interview.
Richmond said during the hearing that he has lived on Concord Avenue in South Bend for approximately 30 years. He said he has not worked for several years because he is disabled.
Jancha said his client’s history of criminal convictions is limited to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge in Indiana more than 15 years ago.