KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The lawyer accused of killing his law partner more than a decade ago in a high profile case, now walks a free man. The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office officially dropped all the charges against Richard Buchli on Friday.
It was 12 years ago when crime scene investigators looked for clues at the Power and Light building in downtown.
“It’s great. We’re glad the case is finally resolved and we’re glad that they’ve decided to dismiss it,” said Rick Johnson, Buchli’s attorney.
It has been a long road to get here, as Buchli writes on his website, where he wants to educate others about his case and about being wrongfully convicted. He wrote, “Justice is not always easy to come by. Mistakes are made that can take years to correct. That is what happened to me.”
Buchli was convicted in 2002 of killing his law partner, Richard Armitage. Buchli was sentenced to life in prison without parole and spent more than 5 years there. In 2006, a judge overturned Buchli’s conviction, stating an ineffective defense lawyer and issues of prosecutors withholding evidence. All evidence was ordered to be thrown out in December by the Missouri Court of Appeals.
The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office asked the Missouri Supreme Court to review that ruling. The high court decided to decline to hear the case last week. That mean the appeals ruling would stand and prosecutors would have to start from scratch in a new trial.
“In the process of getting the case ready for trial this second time, the state didn’t produce the evidence that it was required to produce for his review so that the case could be prepared for trial,” Jonhson said.
So the question remains, especially for the victim’s family. Who killed Richard Armitage?
“The case was complex and sometimes the victim’s of families, they don’t get the closure that they want. But I know that anyone who is a victim of a crime doesn’t want the wrong person convicted,” Johnson said.
We did reach out to Buchli, who told us via email he is not prepared to talk publicly.
A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said they did not want to comment either.