byThomas J. Dolan
Chicago Sun-Times
March 11, 1970


Sentence Vice Lords chief to 25 to 40 Years

Fred R. (Bobby) Gore, leader of the Conservative Vice Lords Inc., was sentenced to 25 to 40 years in prison Tuesday for murder.

Criminal Court Judge Robert J. Downing sentenced Gore, who was found guilty on Feb. 10 by a jury, and then reprimanded Patrick Murphy, Gore’s lawyer, for unprofessional conduct before and during the trial.
Gore, 33, was found guilty of the Oct. 25 murder of Thurman Williams, 23, outside the Tea Box Lounge, 3429 W. Ogden.

Three witnesses during the trial said they saw Gore go up to Williams, engage him in a fight, and then pull a gun and shoot him in the back.

The witnesses said the gunman shot with his right hand, while Gore maintained in the trial that he was left-handed and did not kill Williams.

Gore also was sentenced to serve 4 to 10 years on a charge of aggravated battery arising from the same incident. Downing said both sentences would run concurrently.

Murphy said the verdict would be appealed. In the meantime, Gore will go to jail.

After sentencing, Judge Downing cited 11 incidents of “contumacious and unprofessional conduct” by Murphy during the trail and at the pre-trial hearings.

He said that Murphy at one point asked the jurors if they would disregard any possible prejudice on the part of the trial judge.

In another incident, Downing said Murphy told the jurors the defense was not ready for trial but was forced to trial by the judge.

The judge also cited a Feb. 6 story in The Sun-times in which R. Eugene Pincham, who has been Gore’s attorney and withdrew from the case, charged Downing forced the case to trial too early.

Downing said that the article and Murphy’s conduct and remarks were part of a deliberate attempt to try the case out of court and set up the basis for mistrial or reversal of verdict in the appeals courts.

The judge reprimanded Murphy but did not cite him for contempt of court.

After court, Murphy said he intended to repeal the reprimand and said he believed trial was forced ahead of schedule. He said that at the time Gore came to trial, there were 69 indictments pending in Downing’s court and that 62 indictments involved alleged crimes committed before Oct. 25.

He said three of the indictments involved murder cases, one of which had been continued 51 times already, another 49 times, and another 33 times.

Murphy said “Some people were out to get Gore” because of his activities in the Conservative Vice Lords on the West Side. The former street gang now operates a group of black-owned businesses.

Move to Reopen Gore Case