By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

An Illinois man who fired a fatal shot in a game of Russian Roulette in East Troy in January pleaded guilty last week and is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Robert M. Sterling

Robert M. Sterling, 31, of McHenry, Ill., changed the not-guilty plea he entered in January to guilty on July 19 and will be sentenced Sept. 15. He faces up to 60 years in prison for first-degree reckless homicide, a Class B felony.

The charge stems from the Jan. 2 shooting death of David A. Bauspies at the East Troy apartment of Tyler M. Odell, 22.

According to the criminal complaint, when the first Village of East Troy police officer arrived at the apartment, he saw Sterling “kneeling over a deceased male victim,” who had been shot in the face. The officer reported there was a “revolver laying on the floor near the victim.” Another police officer found Odell outside of the residence.

In an interview with police, Odell said Bauspies and Sterling were with him in his apartment and Odell “decided to show everyone his gun,” the complaint states. Odell said Bauspies and Sterling had “both been drinking a lot of beer and were ‘pretty drunk’” when Odell took out a .44 Magnum revolver that Odell owns. Odell told police, another man, Richard D. Pryor, arrived at the apartment while Odell was showing off the gun.

According to the complaint, Odell told police he removed the six rounds in the gun and showed it to everyone. Then Odell told police he put one round back in the gun and spun the cylinder and that Sterling saw him do this.

Odell told police he held the gun up to his own head but did not pull the trigger. According to the compliant, Odell then handed the gun to Sterling. Sterling “spun the cylinder” and held the gun up to his own head and “pulled the trigger,” the complaint states. The gun did not go off, Odell told police.

According to the complaint, Odell told police Sterling then pointed the gun at Bauspies and “pulled the trigger, causing the gun to fire.”

Odell told police after Bauspies was shot, Odell and Pryor left the apartment and went to a friend’s house. According to the complaint, Odell later came back to the area of the apartment where he was arrested.

The complaint states Sterling was interviewed by police and told them he had been drinking alcohol on Jan. 1 and 2 and he was at the apartment when Odell brought out the gun to show everyone. Sterling told police Odell removed the gun from a case and the group at the apartment began playing Russian Roulette. Sterling said everyone present handled the gun, according to the complaint.

Sterling told police Odell had handed him the gun and that he was holding the gun by his knee when the gun went off and Bauspies was shot.

Odell has pleaded not guilty to first-degree reckless homicide and is scheduled for a three-day trial Nov. 27 to 29 with a final pretrial conference Nov. 13.

      Staff Writer Vicky Wedig contributed to this report.


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