For 40 long years, the unsolved mystery of Robert Stasiak’s death hung heavily over Edwardsburg, Indiana. This enigma came one step closer to closure in Cass Circuit Court when Raymond Robert Richmond, Robert’s own cousin, faced the consequences of his actions from nearly four decades prior.
In a shocking turn of events, the death that was once deemed a suicide back in 1977 had the curtains of truth finally pulled back. It was the unwavering determination of then Edwardsburg-Ontwa Township Police Chief, Tim Kozal, along with his diligent team and the criminal justice students of Southwestern Michigan College, that uncovered the real story.
Raymond Richmond, now 58, was taken into custody in 2016 on charges of murder. In a surprising twist in August 2017, he admitted guilt, pleading to second-degree murder. The court, presided over by Cass Circuit Judge Mark Herman, decreed a 12 to 18-year prison sentence for Richmond, acknowledging the 503 days he’s already spent behind bars.
The emotional tremors of the case were palpable in court. Kathy Hamburger, the widow of Robert Stasiak, expressed her painful relief. “Richmond might never truly grasp the deep wounds he inflicted on our family. My heart aches thinking of our daughter who grew up in the shadow of anger and confusion,” she remarked.
Stephanie Stasiak, Robert’s daughter, poignantly recounted her years of anguish and the gaping void her father’s supposed suicide left behind. When she was 17, the shocking revelation came to light that Richmond had confided in others about his role in her father’s death.
Cass County Prosecutor, Victor Fitz, highlighted this as one of Michigan’s oldest cracked cold cases. The breakthrough was credited not just to the police and students but also to the relentless pursuit of truth by Stephanie.
Paul Jancha, the defense attorney, dubbed this day the gloomiest in his 43 years of legal practice. While describing Richmond’s life post the incident as a tormenting one, filled with mental and drug issues, he emphasized his client’s deep remorse.
In an attempt to seek some semblance of forgiveness, Richmond himself took the stand. Expressing profound regret, he reminisced about his close bond with Robert. Richmond’s narrative painted that tragic day in 1977 as a mere accident, a version of events which Judge Herman found hard to swallow.
The decades might have passed, but for many, the scars of that fateful day still remain raw. This trial and its outcome serve as a poignant reminder of the undying quest for truth and justice, even against the ticking clock.