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Police in Utah Say a Cold Case Pharmacy Murder Was Solved. But the Suspects Died Before They Were Interviewed.

Conti
Source: Salt Lake County police; Upsplash

Buddy Conti.

Jun. 6 2024, Published 10:30 a.m. ET

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A pharmacist in Utah and a salesclerk were closing up a pharmacy when a masked man entered the store, demanded money and took both outside at gunpoint. The suspect told them to run and then opened fire, striking the pharmacist and killing him that day, Aug. 27, 1982.

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In 2015, police announced that the case was solved. But with two men named as suspects dying before being charged in the case in Kearns, we may never know for sure.

The victim, Buddy Conti, 45, was the owner of Kearns Pharmacy at 4188 West 5415 South. His murderer was described as a 6-foot-2 white man with straight black hair streak with gray that was nearly collar length, and he has still not been identified.

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According to Deseret News, police had a suspect at the time. Police said they believe Richard Gill and Clyde Dudley, who are both now dead, were responsible for the robbery and murder, though no charges were ever filed, and police never interviewed Gill, the suspected gunman.

"We must, frankly, offer an apology to the victims and their families for what can only be described as a failure to pursue justice in a timely and responsible way those many years ago," Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder told Deseret News in 2015.

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According to Deseret News, Conti may have confronted the gunman before running toward a field as he and the store clerk were instructed. Dudley was interviewed by police and admitted that he and Gill had been staking out the pharmacy and planning a robbery. Not long after, Dudley killed himself, Deseret News reported.

However, police had plenty of time to interview Gill until he died in 2013. Dudley took his own life in 1983.

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“Through a series of what can only be described as missteps, Mr. Gill was never communicated with by investigators, although charges were leveled by the District Attorney and follow-up documents were put in the case file, for a variety of reasons, mistakes, Mr. Gill was never formally interviewed, nor was he formally charged,” Winder said in 2015, according to Fox 13.

The District Attorney's Office for Salt Lake County said there was probable cause to charge both suspects with homicide and aggravated robbery if they were still alive, according to Fox 13.

Now closed, the case sits with no one ever knowing the full truth of what happened.

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