Third Person Indicted In Roberts Murder Case

By
Susan Tebben - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Tue, Jan 14, 2014 4:51 pm
Photo Credit: 
Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail
Robert Degarmore, of Glouster, Ohio

The third person implicated in the murder case of Paul E. Roberts was indicted by a grand jury this week.

Robert Degarmore, of Glouster, was indicted on two counts of receiving stolen property, one a fifth-degree felony charge and one a misdemeanor charge.

The indictment was filed on Monday and put in the record on Tuesday. In the indictment, Degarmore is accused of receiving, retaining or disposing of a Mastercard credit/debit card, "the property of Paul E. Roberts." In the misdemeanor charge, the indictment states that Degarmore "unlawfully did receive, retain, or dispose of gasoline, the property of Paul E. Roberts," when Degarmore knew the property had been obtained through "a theft offense."

The charges are in connection with a murder case in which Degarmore's sister, Rhonda, is implicated, along with Paul J. Roberts.

Paul J. Roberts, is charged with aggravated murder, murder and other charges related to the death of his father. Paul E. Roberts was found under the porch of his Locust Street home on Oct. 20. A jury trial is scheduled for March for the younger Roberts.

Rhonda Degarmore pleaded guilty to charges of felony receiving stolen property and theft, both related to a credit card stolen from the deceased Roberts. She was also charged with obstruction of justice for misleading police as to where the body was during the investigation.

In exchange for her testimony against Paul J. Roberts, Rhonda Degarmore's husband, the prosecution agreed to recommend a total of two years and 11 months on the charges. She was sentenced in December to a nearly five years in prison.

Robert Degarmore is already incarcerated on unrelated charges, and has appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court for community control violations, including heroin use and five other violations.

In an October first stage hearing, the man admitted to the violations, but in a hearing on Jan. 2, Judge George McCarthy reopened the previous hearing, asking the prosecution to present more evidence on the violations.

Seven community control violations were presented to the court, which included two for assisting in the removal of property from the residence of Paul E. Roberts. The prosecution accused Robert Degarmore of helping take out a water heater, transporting an allegedly stolen pool table, being in contact with someone under indictment (Paul J. Roberts) and using the credit card that allegedly belonged to Paul E.

Roberts. Two admissions of heroin use were also listed as violations, according to court documents.

Defense attorney Bill Biddlestone said Robert Degarmore was willing to admit to the heroin use violations, but did not want to admit to the other violations. Assistant Athens County Prosecutor Elizabeth Pepper requested a new hearing at later date so she could research and prepare more evidence.

The indictment comes nearly three months after the other two involved in the case were indicted. At a press conference in October, after the other two were indicted, Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said Robert Degarmore was being treated as an accessory to the crime but was cooperating with the investigation.

“Not saying he won’t be charged but we’re still working with him to try to ascertain more information,” Blackburn said in October.

Blackburn said he had no further comment on the case when contacted Tuesday.

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