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Bluefin shooter sentenced to more than 12 years on murder charge

Kirk Lee Bigby enters the Cook County Courthouse April 14th
Kirk Lee Bigby enters the Cook County Courthouse April 14th

Kirk Lee Bigby, the man who in May said he was guilty of second-degree murder after a homicide at Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte, was sentenced today to 12 ½ years in prison.

The sentencing includes 100 months mandatory in prison, with the possibility of 50 months on supervised release. It also credits 610 days served for the days Bigby has already spent in jail awaiting an outcome in the case. 

In May, Bigby seemed to stun even his own legal team with the guilty plea that he entered in the Cook County Courtoom. Prior to his guilty plea, Bigby was set to go to trial June 5.

It has been more than 18 months since Kirk Lee Bigby was first accused of intentional second-degree murder that resulted from a shooting at Bluefin Bay in December 2015.

The most recent, and likely final courtroom proceedings in the case lasted for nearly two hours, as Sixth Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden sentenced Bigby. The courtroom on Wednesday was full to near capacity, with family members present for both Bigby and the man he shot and killed, Marcus Lee Roberts.  

The night of the shooting, which took place on Dec. 9, 2015, Bigby admitted he was heavily intoxicated, drinking an abundance of alcohol as well as smoking marijuana. Bigby said he was carrying a .45 pistol the night of the party, firing one shot from the gun at Roberts during a brief physical altercation. Bigby said other firearms were also present in his room at Bluefin the night of the party. Roberts and his brother were hired to work as a card dealers the night of the shooting at Bluefin during the resort's holiday staff party.

Present in the courtroom on Wednesday were members of Bigby’s legal defense team, including attorneys Debbie Lang and David Risk of Halberg Criminal Defense based in Minneapolis. Bigby’s mother and sister sat in the courtroom gallery.

Bigby, who has confessed he was the man who shot Roberts since the night of the homicide, briefly spoke on Wednesday.

“I know I caused a lot of pain,” Bigby said.

With regard to the stoic nature Bigby has possessed while incarcerated and in his numerous courtroom appearances, Bigby said he does feel remorse about killing Roberts.

“I am a 63-year-old man,” Bigby said. “I don’t cry. I haven’t cried since I was ten. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel remorse.”

Despite the fact Bigby entered a guilty plea, Risk suggested that perhaps Roberts was attempting to commit robbery the night he allegedly bumped into Bigby during Bluefin’s holiday work party. The notion that Roberts considered robbing Bigby of the $600 he allegedly had in his coat pocket drew loud gasps from the courtroom gallery.

In addition to Bigby’s mother and sister, also present in the courtroom Wednesday were approximately 15 members of the victim’s family. Six family members or friends of Roberts read victim impact statements prior to sentencing. The statements were highly emotional, often citing specific incidents that have negatively impacted the family of the victim.

Statements were read by Roberts’s mother, sister, oldest daughter, grandmother and the two mothers of his children.

Family members said Roberts’s actual name in his native language means “White Horse Boy.” Several of Roberts’s children and other relatives wore necklaces with small white horse pendants attached.

Not long after Bigby was sentenced and led from the courtroom, a number of family and friends of Roberts engaged in a brief argument with Bigby’s mother and sister in the courtroom. Cook County deputies and courtroom bailiffs were forced to intervene, and Bigby’s sister was threatened with contempt of court if she did not stop directing comments toward members of the victim’s family.

Meanwhile, in the parking lot outside of the Cook County Courthouse, Roberts’s mother directed her anger at Bigby’s attorney, the aforementioned David Risk. There were no deputies or law enforcement present during this encounter in the parking lot.

On Wednesday the State of Minnesota was represented by Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken, with assistance from Assistant Attorney General David Miller. Hicken requested the court to sentence Bigby to 150 months, which indeed it did.

Moments before he sentenced Bigby to prison, Judge Hylden said a quote from the novelist Holly Lisle was appropriate for the occasion. The quote, which comes from Lisle’s book “Fire in the Mist,” reads:

“Actions have consequences...first rule of life. And the second rule is this - you are the only one responsible for your own actions.”
 
 


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