WhenAfter his release from prison last week, the first person he hugged was Evelyn Baker, the now retired judge who sent him to prison nearly three decades ago.
Baker, who spent the past four years fighting to get her out, said she was “delighted” to walk out of prison at the age of 16 after serving a 27-year sentence for a series of robberies.
“It’s better than Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving rolled into one,” she told “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty, who has been covering the matter for years.
Bostik, 43, turned his life around in prison. He went to school, read and wrote books – even though he had no hope of getting out. But that all changed thanks to his unlikely accomplice, Baker, who also appeared in a parole hearing for his release.
The day of his release once seemed unimaginable. Bostic was imprisoned in 1995 after he and a friend committed a series of armed robberies in St. One injured has been shot.
Convinced Bostic was a lost cause, with then-Judge Baker showing no mercy after pleading guilty to 17 counts and ordering his sentences to run continuously for a total of 241 years.
In a prison interview two weeks before his release, Bostic said that he was not angry with Baker.
“It inspired me to say, ‘One day, if I ever go out, I’ll see her. And she’ll realize her mistake when she sees the person I had become,'” he said.
This seemed very unlikely as Bostic would not be eligible for parole until he was 112 years old. Many people just gave up, but Bostic got the drive even when they had nowhere to go.
“Once you make so many mistakes, you get tired, and you want to do something different,” he said. “So I started reading. That’s how I found myself in books. And it’s the most peace I’ve ever had in the world. It’s basically a natural high.”
Bostic earned an associate’s degree and is working on his bachelor’s degree in business. He wrote a total of 15 books – poetry and prose, including his mother’s biography.
His surprising turnaround convinced Baker that he had made a mistake.
“241 years is madness, when I think back on it,” she told Moriarty in a 2021 interview. “And I’ll say it now: It’s madness. He was a kid. He was a little boy.”
Baker admitted that the case haunted her and that too changed over the years.
“As he developed, I evolved,” she said.
Baker began advocating for Bostic, and in the summer of 2021, the Missouri legislature passed the Bobby Bostic law, which allowed him and other inmates imprisoned as juveniles to apply for parole.
It was an unusual sight when Baker appeared at a parole hearing for the release of a prisoner he had himself sentenced.
“I don’t know if it’s ever happened before, but it was something I wanted to do,” she told Moriarty last week. “Because it was time for Bobby to come home and be with his family. He was not the kid I punished.”
Late last year, the parole board gave Bostic a date when he could finally go home.
“The Bobby Bostic I put in jail is not the Bobby Bostic that got out,” Baker said. “Bobby did what many people can’t. He made himself. He took the good, the bad, and the ugly, and he turned it into something beautiful.”
None of Bostic’s victims objected to his release, and one of them even wrote a letter supporting it.
Nationally, more and more prisoners arrested as juveniles are getting a second chance. In Missouri, none of those released in the past year have been reprimanded, nor returned to prison.
Bostick, who plans to spend Thanksgiving with his family and Baker, said he understands that some people don’t think prisoners convicted as juveniles should get a second chance.
“They basically got the right to feel that way,” he said. “It’s up to us, teens who go out and get a second chance, to do something different, to prove to those people, ‘I’m just like you.'”