Grand jury indicts Westminster man in 1993 slaying

November 03, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Nearly 21 months after Roy Monroe Robertson and Gina Prodoehl found the body of her husband on the bank of the Monocacy River with two bullet holes in his head, a Carroll grand jury has accused Robertson of first-degree murder.

A three-count indictment returned late yesterday charges Robertson in the Feb. 17, 1993, death of William Charles Prodoehl.

Mr. Prodoehl's body was found near Harney by Mrs. Prodoehl and Robertson -- who lived with the Westminster couple -- after Mr. Prodoehl failed to return from a fishing trip.

In announcing the indictment, Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman credited a state police unit with a lengthy investigation that reportedly included the use of undercover troopers and telephone monitoring.

"These guys have used a lot of sophisticated techniques," Mr. Hickman said. "The investigation consumed a lot of time and effort."

Since May 1993, Robertson, a 45-year-old Westminster man, has publicly called himself the prime suspect in the slaying.

Mr. Hickman repeatedly denied that until yesterday.

Robertson has been behind bars since January, when he was arrested on sexual-abuse charges involving two children and three adults over a period of 20 years.

In August, Robertson pleaded guilty to molesting one of the adults and having shown a pornographic film to one of the children. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and prosecutors dropped the remaining charges.

Robertson's attorney, Judith S. Stainbrook, has asserted all along that the child abuse allegations were a ruse to put her client behind bars so that he would talk about the Prodoehl homicide.

Yesterday, she called the timing of the indictment "purely political." She said Mr. Hickman had enough information to bring the case before a grand jury "months ago."

"It is a cheap political trick on the eve of the election," the Westminster defense attorney said.

"I'm sure they have no better information than they've had all along. They could have done this months ago," she said.

Mr. Hickman scoffed at the notion that he timed the indictment to come out less than a week before voters go to the polls in a three-way race for state's attorney.

He said investigators were concerned that Robertson could be released from prison soon and that they didn't want to take a chance that he might flee.

Mr. Hickman and state police investigators said Robertson was always the prime suspect in the slaying.

After his arrest on the child-abuse charges, state police Tfc. George Forsythe, posing as Michael Anthony Saints, was placed for a week in Robertson's cell, where, according to the indictments, Robertson asked "Mr. Saints" -- who billed himself as a suspect in a murder -- to assault one of Robertson's sisters.

Trooper Forsythe didn't say whether Robertson said anything about the Prodoehl slaying.

Mr. Hickman would not divulge what he and investigators believe is the motive behind the slaying, but he hinted that the killing might involve more than one person.

Asked whether proceeds from a life insurance policy could have been behind the homicide, Mr. Hickman said Robertson was not a beneficiary of any policy.

Asked whether Mrs. Prodoehl was a beneficiary of her husband's policy -- and whether she could be connected to the case -- Mr. Hickman declined to comment.

He did say that an investigation into "accessories" was continuing.

Mrs. Prodoehl's attorney, Michael E. Kaminkow of Baltimore, said he was unaware of any investigation involving his client.

"I can't comment on the validity of the allegations brought against Mr. Robertson," Mr. Kaminkow said. "Whatever Mr. Robertson may or may not have done, Mrs. Prodoehl had nothing to do with the crime, absolutely nothing to do with it."

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