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Cloquet man pleads guilty to murder

Wayne Bosto

Seven months after the murder of John Francis Korby, his killer pleaded guilty last week in Carlton County Court.

Cloquet's Wayne Joseph Bosto, 34, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Carlton County Court Friday afternoon. He faces 426 months or 35 years of prison time for the murder, less than the maximum sentence of 40 years.

Bosto answered most questions with one word, usually "yes," during the plea hearing. A second charge of "felon in possession of a firearm" was dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Seven people filed quietly into the courtroom to hear the outcome. One young woman wore a white custom T-shirt saying "FOR JOHN KORBY" on the back.

Assistant Carlton County Attorney Jeffrey Boucher told Judge Robert Macaulay that Korby's family were not able to be at the hearing but were aware of the plea deal and agreed with it.

Bosto's public defender Kevin Cornwell told the judge they had gone over the plea deal earlier that day, then he asked Bosto if he had any questions. Bosto answered "no." Cornwell said the highest grade Bosto had completed in school was 10.

Cornwell asked Bosto if he understood if he chose to go to a trial instead of agreeing to a plea deal that all 12 people would need to find him innocent — Bosto said "yes" he did. Cornwell asked if he understood that by pleading guilty he gives up the right to remain silent — Bosto said "yes."

Cornwell then asked Bosto a series of questions about the events of Dec. 23, 2016.

Bosto said he had been in a bedroom and he thought the other people at the house had already left, leaving him alone with Korby. Bosto very quietly said he remembered it started with an argument, but he didn't remember what it was about. Cornwell noted and Bosto acknowledged that Bosto had methamphetamine and marijuana in his bloodstream.

Cornwell continued to question Bosto about the gun.

Bosto said he suddenly pointed the gun at Korby and pulled the trigger.

"It all happened so fast," said Bosto. "I wanted to kill him."

Cornwell asked if Bosto remembered how many times he shot Korby. Bosto said "no."

"Do you understand that Korby later passed away?" Cornwall asked.

Bosto said he did.

When Cornwell finished questioning Bosto, Boucher asked Bosto if he understood he shot at Korby's head, and did he shoot with the intent to kill him? Bosto answered "yes" to both questions.

Judge Macaulay said the court accepted the guilty plea and there would be a pre-sentence investigation. Bosto will be sentenced Aug. 31.

According to the criminal complaint for the case, Bosto, Korby and two others arrived at 1787 Wolf Ridge Road in Cloquet on the morning of Dec. 23. A man and woman were already there.

Police said after retreating to a back room for a period of time, the two others left, leaving Bosto, Korby, plus the man and woman who were there when they arrived in another part of the house. The man and woman recalled hearing five gunshots, according to the complaint. When one of them went to the part of the house where shots had been fired, they "witnessed (Bosto) standing over Korby holding a pistol. The witness saw (Bosto) point the gun at Korby's head and fire."

Bosto remained in the home for a short time before leaving on foot with the pistol. A responding officer saw him walking down Brevator Road near Jarvi Road, which was a short distance from the home where the shooting occurred. The officer recognized Bosto and ordered him to the ground, where the officer noticed the pistol sticking out of Bosto's waistband. Bosto was taken into custody. Officers found Korby "conscious but unable to speak" when they arrived at the residence, the complaint said.

Korby had been shot three times in the leg, once in the forearm and once in the head, the shot that caused his death. He died at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth about an hour after police were called to the scene, according to authorities.

Korby's obituary said he liked to bead and spend time with his six children. He participated in pool tournaments, and "is fondly remembered as a loving dad, and a jokester who loved to kid around." He graduated from AlBrook High School in 1999 and went on to work at Black Bear Casino and various construction jobs.