Life sentence, no parole sought in Prodoehl killing

April 23, 1995|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,SUN Staff Writer

Carroll prosecutors have filed their intention to seek a sentence of life without parole for Roy Monroe Robertson, the Westminster man charged with first-degree murder in the 1993 death of William Charles Prodoehl.

State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes quietly notified Robertson and the court of his decision to seek the no-parole sentence in the case several months ago, according to court records obtained by The Sun last week.

The prosecution will pursue the sentence only if Robertson is convicted of first-degree murder, the papers said.

BRobertson -- who is in state prison on a child abuse conviction -- was indicted in November, nearly 21 months after he and Gina Prodoehl found the body of her husband, William, on the bank of the Monocacy River near Harney with two bullet holes in his head on Feb. 17, 1993. Robertson lived with the Westminster couple.

Mr. Prodoehl's body was found after he failed to return from a fishing trip, state police reported.

A pretrial conference, at which prosecutors and Robertson's lawyers will meet with Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. to discuss the possibility of a plea bargain in the case, is set for early next month. But a plea bargain is considered only a remote possibility.

Later next month, the lawyers are scheduled to meet to hash out pretrial motions, in which defense lawyers will seek to bar prosecution evidence.

The most hotly contested evidence was obtained by an undercover state trooper who posed as a Carroll County Detention Center inmate, Mr. Barnes and assistant public defender Daniel Schemer said Friday.

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

Neither Mr. Barnes nor Mr. Schemer would disclose details of what Robertson allegedly told the trooper. But both lawyers said the conversation was not the only evidence gathered in nearly two years of investigation.

The potential problem with the admissibility of Robertson's conversation with the trooper arises because Robertson was represented by a lawyer when he and the trooper spoke in the county jail. State law prohibits law enforcement officials from questioning a defendant without the consent of his attorney, Mr. Schemer said.

Mr. Barnes declined to discuss the specifics of the case.

Robertson, 45, of Westminster had publicly called himself the prime suspect in the slaying since May 1993.

Former State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, who sought the Robertson indictment, repeatedly denied that assertion until the grand jury returned the three-count document.

Robertson has been behind bars since January 1994, when he was arrested on sexual-abuse charges involving two children and three adults over a period of 20 years.

He was convicted on child sexual abuse charges in August and was sentenced to two years in prison.

A jury trial on the murder charge is scheduled for late August.

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