DANVILLE — A 56-year-old rural Danville man on Friday was formally charged with murder in the fatal shooting of his uncle earlier this week.
Billy R. Richardson, of 647 E. 13th St., faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery-discharge of a firearm.
Vermilion County prosecutors said Richardson "without lawful justification" performed the acts that caused the death of 68-year-old Donnie Leroy Davis of Georgia on Wednesday.
At his initial hearing in Vermilion County Circuit Court, Richardson, who remained in the county jail and communicated with court officials via video-conference, pleaded innocent to the charges.
Prosecutors asked that Richardson be held without bond at the jail, and Associate Judge Karen Wall agreed to do that over the weekend. But because defendants have a right to be present in the courtroom when that issue is addressed, the matter was reset for Monday when Richardson can appear in person.
Mr. Davis was pronounced dead at 4:36 p.m. Wednesday at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville. An autopsy showed he died from multiple gunshot wounds.
According to Vermilion County sheriff's investigators, Richardson and Mr. Davis had been in a dispute over the property on East 13th Street. Richardson had been living on the property, and Mr. Davis, who had obtained the property through the courts, was going there to take possession of it.
Witnesses told investigators that as Mr. Davis approached the property, Richardson came out of the house, met his uncle in the street and shot him with a handgun. Richardson then ran into a wooded area along the Vermilion River.
After an extensive search of the area, deputies tracked Richardson to a residence on Perrysville Road south of Danville and arrested him without incident. Authorities said people at that residence had no connection to Richardson or the crime.
State's Attorney Randy Brinegar said Richardson gave a statement to police, although he would not say whether the suspect confessed to the shooting.
Wall set Richardson's preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 6.
If Richardson is convicted of murder, he could be sentenced to 45 years to life in prison because of special penalty provisions, and he would have to serve 100 percent of the sentence, Brinegar said. If he is convicted of the Class X aggravated battery charge, he could be sentenced to six to 30 years in prison, and he would have to serve 85 percent of that sentence.