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Ronald Rice Sentenced To 80 Years For 1980 Murder

Although he's already behind bars for assaulting another 11-year-old boy, 56-year-old Ronald Rice pleaded guilty to the 1980 murder of then-11-year-old Edwin Gulbransen, the Chicago Tribune reported. Although he was set to be paroled from his 60-year sentence in 2012, the new 80-year sentence will probably keep him behind bars for good.

Ronald Rice was originally charged with leaving the scene of an accident after claiming he accidentally struck Edwin Gulbransen with his car but didn't take him to the hospital or call for help because he already was dead. But as any Chicago criminal attorney would tell you, new evidence or unintended confessions can change things. 

After he was released following his six month sentence in Cook County Jail, Ronald Rice was convicted of kidnapping and deviant sexual assault of another young boy at knifepoint and sent to prison.

The Illinois Dept. of Corrections told authorities in 2008 that he repeatedly admitted and even boasted to other inmates that he molested and then strangled Edwin Gulbransen, which led to the new charges on which he recently was convicted.

He once told a prison staff member that he "got away with murder because there was not enough evidence," according to Assistant State's Atty. Bill Delaney. It's not clear whether there was new evidence in the case but Ronald Rice may have believed he would have been convicted and decided to plead guilty instead.

Bette Kociolek, Edwin Gulbransen's mother, sat in the courtroom with about a dozen other family members. She said she was relieved by the plea and the 80-year sentence:

"It's over and that's a relief, that the truth finally came out and he's going away for the rest of his life. This way he will never hurt another little child." 

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