Second killer of bicyclist Robert Osborn also sentenced to 15 years

Ron and Rick Osborn hold a photo of their brother Robert
Ron and Rick Osborn with a photo of their brother Robert

The sentencing hearing for Raphael Willis, one of two who worked together to murder bicyclist Robert Osborn as he rode home from work in November 2005, was held last week in Jackson County Court.

Willis received a sentence of 15 years, the same sentence as his co-defendant, Fabian Brown. Brown and Willis have each blamed the other for pulling the trigger.

Evidence given at the sentencing hearing indicated the shotgun used in the killing had been used in other area shootings, though prosecutors have no evidence about whether Brown, Willis, or others may have used the gun on those occasions.

Osborn's family was disappointed in the sentence for Willis, which was the result of a plea agreement. They argued vigorously in court that this crime, in which the pair stalked Osborn and took several shots at him with different weapons before hiding behind a tree to ambush him with a shotgun, rose far about the ordinary crime of passion or random shooting.

MoBikeFed submitted a letter to the court and to the prosecutor, laying out the effect this murder and other acts of violence have had on the bicycling community. In Brown's sentencing hearing, the prosecutor chose to make no summation, letting the Osborn family's words speak for themselves.

In this hearing, however, the prosecutor chose to give a stronger summation and mentioned the letter and the effect the murder has had on the community as a whole.

As he did in the Brown hearing, Judge Jay Daugherty indicated that the circumstances did not allow for a full measure of justice for the Osborn family, before handing down the sentence of 15 years for 2nd degree murder, and 3 years for a firearms charge, to be served concurrently.

Since the murder of Robert, the remaining members of the Osborn family have worked together to advocate against violence in the community. Find out more about their work at