'Russian roulette' suspect faces murder charge
Tribune staff reports
Published July 13, 2004, 4:59 PM CDT
An Elmhurst man was charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting a neighborhood teen during a bizarre card game involving poker and a handgun, authorities announced today.
Anson Paape, 38, of the 800 block of Hawthorne Avenue, also was charged with obstruction of justice in the slaying Friday night of Michael Murray, 18, DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett said.
"The alleged conduct of this defendant is outrageous and resulted in the slaughter of a young man who had his whole life in front of him," Birkett said at a news conference in Wheaton to discuss the charges.
During an 18th birthday party for Murray at Paape's house Friday night, the suspect and four local teenagers allegedly were playing a variation of Russian roulette, in which participants drew cards in a poker-like game.
A revolver was loaded with a single bullet, its cylinder was spun, and the winner of a poker hand was to point the gun to a player to his right and pull the trigger, Birkett said.
"Michael Murray won the hand that cost him his life," the prosecutor said. "He refused to shoot his gun, so Paape took the gun in his hand, spun the cylinder, placed it on this young man's head and pulled the trigger, ending this young boy's life."
The other youths ran away, Birkett said. Paape remained at the scene for a few minutes and then also fled, disappearing for several days and triggering a nationwide manhunt that ended Sunday night in Bensenville.
"The shooting death of Michael Murray was not a reckless act or an accident, as some have opined," Birkett said.
"This defendant's behavior was premeditated. He planned to engage in behavior that was likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another human being. That, ladies and gentlemen, is murder, pure and simple."
If Paape is proven guilty, Birkett added, "we will make sure he pays a heavy price for his conduct."
A friend of the suspect, William Larsen, 41, of the 300 block of Spruce Avenue in Bensenville, was charged with aiding a fugitive and obstructing justice, Birkett said. Police took the men into custody Sunday evening after an anonymous tipster led them to a mobile home behind Larsen's residence.
If found guilty, Birkett said, Paape could be sentenced to up to 60 years and possibly life in prison, and Larsen could spend as many as three years behind bars.
Paape also was charged with violating a bail bond for allegedly having failed to turn over firearms to police after he previously was arrested on charges of domestic violence, Birkett said.
Paape is being held on a no-bond warrant in DuPage County Jail and has a July 22 bond hearing scheduled.
Larsen's bond was set at $100,000 during a hearing today before DuPage County Judge George Sodos. The defendant's next court date is Aug. 9.
Tribune staff reporter Angela Rozas contributed to this story.