Killer of best friend receives life sentence Chance for parole denied for 1993 killing of Westminster man

November 09, 1995|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SUN STAFF

Roy Monroe Robertson, convicted in September of killing his best friend beside the Monocacy River near Taneytown, will spend the rest of his life behind bars, a Carroll County judge determined yesterday.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. gave Robertson life in prison without the chance for parole yesterday for the first-degree murder of William Charles Prodoehl on Feb. 18, 1993.

Robertson received a consecutive 15-year sentence for using a handgun to commit a violent crime. Judge Burns said Robertson -- who has been incarcerated since January 1994 on these and other charges -- will receive credit for any time served while awaiting trial.

"The thing that is the most disturbing to me is the friendship between these two men," Judge Burns said. "Charles befriended the defendant and took him into his house. But the friendship he exhibited toward the defendant, Roy Monroe Robertson, backfired."

Throughout the trial, police said Robertson -- who had a three-year affair with Mr. Prodoehl's wife, Gina -- killed his friend out of jealousy and for half of a $100,000 insurance policy that named Mrs. Prodoehl as beneficiary.

About a year before Mr. Prodoehl's death, Robertson became homeless and moved into his friend's Westminster townhouse, police said. The day after the killing, he and Mrs. Prodoehl reported finding the victim lying in the snow with two bullet holes in his head, police said.

The two told police they went looking for Mr. Prodoehl when he failed to return home from a fishing trip.

"We have more than a homicide here," said State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes, arguing for a sentence of life without parole. "We have the utilization of a trust that ultimately turned out to be a vicious assassination."

However, assistant public defender Daniel Shemer insisted that the prosecution's characterization of Robertson was completely off base. Acknowledging that state law requires Robertson receive at least a life sentence, Mr. Shemer begged Judge Burns to show some mercy.

"This is part of a complex world," Mr. Shemer said, noting that it would be easy to make Robertson look like a monster, even though he was upset about the death of his friend and had earned the respect of his co-workers.

"He has been convicted of first-degree murder, although I think wrongly," Mr. Shemer said. "There is a lot of good in Roy Robertson."

Mary Vaught, Mr. Prodoehl's mother, disagrees. Through tears, she and other family members said they were happy about the verdict. "It will never be over," Ms. Vaught said. "But, at least, he won't be out on the street winning friendships with people and wondering how to do them in while he's doing it."

Robertson also received a sentence yesterday of 10 years, with all but four suspended, on charges of soliciting someone to commit battery.

The charge, separated from those in the Prodoehl case, stemmed from Robertson's offering an undercover Maryland State Police officer $500 for "slapping around" a witness in a child abuse case.

Tfc. George Forsythe, posing as gang member Michael Anthony Saints, shared a cell with Robertson for five days in January 1994 at the Carroll County Detention Center. Robertson was awaiting trial on charges that he had sexually molested several children.

He pleaded guilty to the charges in August 1994 and received a two-year prison sentence.

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