Man describes ambushing cyclist with shotgun

Saturday, August 2, 2008 | 5:33 p.m. CDT; updated 11:30 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 2, 2008

KANSAS CITY - A man accused of gunning down a bicyclist in a random 2005 shooting missed twice before ambushing the man and firing the fatal shot, a co-defendant in the killing testified.

Rapheal Willis, 22, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He admitted that he and Fabian Brown Jr. killed 43-year-old Robert Osborn on Nov. 20, 2005.

According to court documents, the suspects were bored and looking for someone to kill when they came across Osborn.

Willis told the court that Brown fired a shotgun twice at Osborn from a moving car, but missed. He said the two then parked the car and hid behind a tree, waiting for Osborn to ride by.

When Osborn came by, Brown stepped out and fired the shotgun into the back of his head, Willis said.

Willis, who initially was charged with first-degree murder, is expected to testify at Brown's trial, which starts Sept. 29. Brown is charged with first-degree murder.

After the shooting, police described Osborn's death as "completely random." Osborn was killed while riding home from work at an Independence grocery store.

Police said Osborn was halfway home on the four-mile ride when he was shot. A co-worker spotted him and called for help, but Osborn died at the scene.

"I wanted him to say, ‘I was there. I'm guilty,'" Ron Osborn, one of the victim's three brothers who attended Friday's plea hearing, said of Willis.

Another brother, Randy Osborn, said he was in awe of his brother's abilities. Family members described Robert Osborn as a gentle man with many friends who wanted to learn as much as he could about various topics.

"He just had a brilliant mind," Randy Osborn said. "He would have been a great teacher."

Circuit Judge Jay Daugherty set sentencing for Oct. 10.


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