Grand jury may question man in slaying Westminster man says he's a suspect

July 29, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Roy Monroe Robertson -- a Westminster man who says he is a suspect in the February shooting death of a Carroll fisherman -- is expected to be questioned about the slaying today before a county grand jury.

And, in an unusual move, Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. yesterday ordered the recording of Mr. Robertson's testimony. His lawyers had sought to bar Mr. Robertson's testimony unless a court reporter was allowed to attend the normally unrecorded proceedings.

Mr. Robertson first said he was a suspect in the death of Westminster fisherman William C. Prodoehl -- whose body was found along the Monocacy River in northwestern Carroll County on Feb. 18 -- after claiming in May that Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman deceitfully obtained his private mental health records from the Springfield Hospital Center.

Mr. Robertson alleged that Mr. Hickman obtained the records by telling Springfield officials that they were being sought in a "suspected case of abuse or neglect." Mr. Hickman's stamped signature appeared on the form-letter-style request sent to Springfield.

In all cases other than abuse or neglect -- including murder -- mental health records can be released only with the patient's permission or with a court order.

Three days after Mr. Robertson filed a lawsuit against Mr. Hickman, the state's attorney's office returned the records, saying they were useless anyway.

At the time, Mr. Hickman denied using deceit to obtain the records, but stopped short of saying his office was actively investigating an abuse case involving Mr. Robertson.

In a June 17 letter to The Sun, Mr. Hickman said the whole matter was nothing more than a clerical error. "If anything, a subpoena in the wrong format was issued in error by one of our support personnel," the prosecutor wrote.

Yesterday, Mr. Hickman repeated that explanation for the record release foul-up, but declined to confirm or deny that Mr. Robertson would be questioned about the Prodoehl killing before the grand jury today.

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