DANVILLE — A 56-year-old rural Danville man will stand trial for allegedly shooting his uncle last month over a property dispute.
Vermilion County Circuit Judge Craig DeArmond on Thursday set Billy R. Richardson's jury trial for Jan. 25, after Richardson waived his right to a preliminary hearing and, through his public defender, pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the fatal shooting of 68-year-old Donnie L. Davis, of Forsyth, Ga.
Richardson, who wept throughout the hearing, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery-discharge of a firearm.
Prosecutors said Richardson "without lawful justification" performed the acts that caused the death of Mr. Davis on Nov. 14.
Mr. Davis, formerly of Danville, was pronounced dead at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville. An autopsy showed he died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Vermilion County sheriff's investigators said Richardson and Mr. Davis had been in a dispute over property at 647 E. 13th St. Richardson had been living on the property, but Mr. Davis obtained possession of it through the courts and was going there to take possession of it when he was shot.
Witnesses told authorities that as Mr. Davis approached the property, Richardson came out of the house, argued with 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, 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.
Richardson is being held without bond in the Vermilion County Jail.
If convicted of murder, he could be sentenced to 45 years to life in prison and would have to serve 100 percent of the sentence. If he is convicted of the Class X aggravated battery charge, he could be sentenced to six to 30 years in prison and would have to serve 85 percent of the sentence.