BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
A man accused of shooting his uncle in a property dispute made his first appearance in court Friday.
Billy R. Richardson, 56, of the 600 block of East 13th Street, appeared for arraignment Friday afternoon in Vermilion County Circuit Court via a video feed from the Public Safety Building where he remains incarcerated.
Richardson was arrested Wednesday evening in connection with the shooting of his uncle, 68-year-old Donnie Davis, earlier that day.
In court Friday, Richardson was advised of the four counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery with a firearm filed against him by the Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office.
A preliminary hearing in which he will enter a formal plea of guilty or not guilty was set during Friday’s proceedings for Dec. 6.
Associate Judge Karen Wall did not immediately set bond for Richardson. Instead, a hearing to set the bond amount was scheduled for Monday afternoon. Until that time, Richardson will remain incarcerated in the Public Safety Building jail.
Vermilion County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of gunshots around 4 p.m. Wednesday in the 600 block of East 13th Street, just outside Tilton village limits. Outside 647 E. 13th St., responding law enforcement found Davis suffering from several gunshot wounds.
The shooting took place almost exactly at the time in which Richardson was expected, under court order, to vacate the home. The deadline was issued under court order in a lawsuit filed by Davis in 2011.
Witnesses said the men began arguing around 4 p.m. outside the home before Richardson fired a handgun at Davis, striking him several times. Richardson then fled into a wooded area near the Vermilion River. Police later arrested him shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday at a house in the 2000 block of Perrysville Road.
Davis was pronounced dead just after 4:30 p.m. at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center.
First-degree murder, under state statute, is punishable by up to 60 years or potentially a life sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Aggravated battery with a firearm is a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.