Owner of gun used to kill man faces up to 10 years in prison

By Vicky Wedig

SLN Staff

An East Troy man was found guilty of a crime but a lesser offense than reckless homicide in the death of a man at his apartment in January 2017.

During a three-day jury trial that ended April 26, Tyler Odell, 23, was found guilty of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon in the death of David Bauspies on Jan. 2, 2017. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines and is scheduled for sentencing June 29.

He was tried on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide, which carries a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.

In an interview with police, Odell said Bauspies and Robert Sterling, 32, of McHenry, Ill., were with him in his Emery Court apartment and Odell “decided to show everyone his gun,” according to the criminal complaint. 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 he 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.”

Police, medical examiner’s staff and Sterling testified during the three-day trial last week. Odell did not take the stand.

East Troy police officer Jeff Price testified that initially, when speaking to Price at the scene, Sterling said Odell fired the shot that killed Bauspies. Later that day, in an interview at the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office, Sterling said the gun just went off as he set it on his knee, Price said.

Price said in the sequence of the men pulling the trigger on the gun, Sterling described eight trigger pulls before Bauspies was shot, but the revolver holds only six rounds. Sterling told Price the men believed the gun was not loaded.

Odell’s defense attorney, Stephen Govin, played the portion of the videotaped interview for the jury when Sterling described that belief.

“We all saw the f—ing bullets all sitting right there,” Sterling said on the recording, referring to the gun case sitting near the TV in Odell’s apartment.

Govin also played a portion of the video for the jury that showed Sterling saying the men were “being macho guys” and “crazy mother f—ers” and a “couple of guys with our balls pumped the f— up.”

Sterling also said in the interview that Pryor, who was questioned but not charged in connection with Bauspies’ death, handed him the gun.

On the last day of the trial, Govin also recalled officer Aaron Hackett, who previously testified for the prosecution. Govin directed Hackett to remove the gun that was used in the crime from the evidence box and attempt to spin the cylinder while it was in the body of the gun. Hackett demonstrated the cylinder did not spin unless it was moved out of the body of the revolver. He also testified that the chambers were visible and one could see whether they contained any rounds when the cylinder was in the position outside the barrel where it could be spun.

Sterling pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless homicide July 19 and was sentenced Sept. 15 to 15 years in state prison and 10 years extended supervision.

To find Odell guilty of first-degree reckless homicide as a party to a crime, the jury would have had to have found that Odell intended to assist in Bauspies’ death or knew that his actions were likely to result in Bauspies’ death.

 
 

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