A retired St. Louis judge who sentenced a teen to 241 years in prison in 1997 says her sentence should be overturned. Judge Evelyn Baker traveled to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Tuesday, in support of legislation aimed at providing a parole hearing for Bobby Bostic.

41-year-old Bobby Bostic is incarcerated at the Jefferson City Correctional Center (December 2017 file photo courtesy of Missouri DOC)

Bostic, who’s now 41, is incarcerated at the maximum-security Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC). While he was convicted on 16 felony counts, including robbery and armed criminal action, his supporters note his crime did not cause death or serious injuries to victims.

Bostic has been incarcerated since March 1997, for robbing a group of people who were delivering Christmas gifts to needy St. Louisans in 1995.

Judge Evelyn Baker briefed Capitol reporters on Tuesday, and Missourinet asked the retired judge about her 1997 sentence.

“If I knew then what I know now, I would never have sentenced that child (Bostic) to 241 years,” Baker says. “I didn’t know it then, but I do know it now. And it’s my duty to try to rectify a wrong.”

Bostic was 16 at the time of the robbery. Judge Baker says “Bobby was just a kid who was 16 years old. His brain had years to go before he became a full-fledged adult.”

Baker supports bipartisan legislation from State Reps. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) and Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City) that would give Bostic an immediate parole hearing.

Bostic currently has to wait until he’s 112 years old, to get a hearing. Washington says Bostic should have never been certified as an adult, in the case.

Retired St. Louis Circuit Judge Evelyn Baker briefs Capitol reporters on January 21, 2020, as State Reps. Nick Schroer and Barbara Washington look on (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

As for Schroer, who serves on the Missouri House Judiciary Committee, he tells Capitol reporters that none of Bostic’s victims were killed or seriously injured, adding that Bostic prevented a sexual assault from happening that night.

“It is noteworthy to mention that zero of these victims from that one night have indicated that they are against Mr. Bostic being granted clemency or parole,” says Schroer.

The “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” has reported that Bostic was with an 18-year-old co-defendant during the 1995 incident, and that while two people were shot, no one was seriously injured.

The co-defendant accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to 30 years, according to the newspaper.

Representative Schroer emphasizes the legislation doesn’t guarantee Bostic parole, but simply a hearing and an opportunity to appear before Missouri’s Probation and Parole Board.

The bill is House Bill 2201.

Schroer also says Bostic has been involved in restorative justice efforts in prison.

“In the months ahead of us you will learn about how Bobby Bostic is a changed man, fully repentant, obtaining many scholastic accolades and degrees,” Schroer says. “He has taken full responsibility for his actions on that one December night in 1995.”

Judge Baker tells the Capitol Press Corps that “justice cries for Bobby Bostic to be released.”

During their press conference, Representatives Schroer and Washington also called on Governor Mike Parson (R) to grant Bostic clemency. Schroer says he spoke to Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson about the case, in 2019.

In addition to Judge Baker, Schroer and Washington were also joined by several lawmakers from both parties. They included State Reps. Tony Lovasco, R-O’Fallon, Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, Rasheen Aldridge Jr., D-St. Louis, LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, and Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette. The ACLU’s Sara Baker also attended and spoke.

Baker notes Bostic has written poetry and has been teaching other inmates how to read. The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) says Bostic has also been involved in the Puppies for Parole program.

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