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Ex-state official to resume slaying trial testimony


Testimony against Roy Monroe Robertson, the Westminster man accused of killing a friend in 1993, is set to continue Tuesday with more from John M. Staubitz Jr., prosecutors said Friday.

Staubitz, a former state health official who was convicted last year of burglarizing eight suburban Baltimore homes, told the 16-member jury last week that he met Mr. Robertson when the two were incarcerated at the Carroll County Detention Center in early 1994.

The two met again about six months later when they both were being held at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Staubitz said.

Mr. Robertson -- who is charged with first-degree murder in the February 1993 death of Westminster roofer William Charles Prodoehl -- was serving time at Roxbury after pleading guilty in August 1994 to molesting a woman and showing a pornographic movie to a girl.

Staubitz testified last week that when they met, Mr. Robertson asked him general legal questions about what evidence and testimony is admissible during a trial.

Later at Roxbury, Mr. Robertson was charged with killing Mr. Prodoehl.

He then asked Staubitz -- who was working at the prison library -- to help him list where he was when the crime was committed, Staubitz said.

Mr. Robertson also asked his new friend to type letters to his attorney and Gina Prodoehl, the wife of Charles Prodoehl,

Staubitz said.

"He wanted to send a letter to let [Mrs. Prodoehl] know that he was requesting a meeting with her attorney and was not going to say anything against Mrs. Prodoehl in the upcoming court case," Staubitz said. "He said he wasn't going to implicate her in the crime."

Earlier in the trial, which began Aug. 21, there was testimony that Mr. Robertson and Mrs. Prodoehl had been having an affair for about three years before the victim's death.

Police accuse Mr. Robertson of killing Mr. Prodoehl for half of a $100,000 insurance policy, which listed Mrs. Prodoehl as beneficiary. Police also said last week that Mrs. Prodoehl, who found her husband in the snow near the Monocacy River in Taneytown, is still a suspect in the case. Mr. Prodoehl was shot twice in the head.

Mrs. Prodoehl was with Mr. Robertson when she found her husband. The three had been living together in the Prodoehls' Westminster townhouse for about a year before the killing, police have said.

Tfc. George Forsythe, an undercover officer with the Maryland State Police who spent five days in a cell with Mr. Robertson at the Carroll County Detention Center in January 1994, testified yesterday that the defendant insisted several times that he would be receiving half of the insurance money from Mrs. Prodoehl.

In addition, Mr. Robertson -- who thought his cellmate was a gang member named Michael Anthony Saints who had killed a man during a racial fight -- seemed to be interested in having his cellmate pin the Prodoehl slaying on a junkie the "gang member" was going to kill, the trooper said.

"I told him I was going to kill the guy anyway," said Trooper Forsythe, adding that Mr. Robertson agreed to give him $2,000 from the insurance money for the work. "But in order to make it believable that he [the junkie] really had been involved in the murder, I would have to have convincing evidence."

The trooper said Mr. Robertson obliged by telling him he had been told that the murder weapon was thrown into Big Pipe Creek south of Taneytown and that he thought Mr. Prodoehl had fallen when he died, Trooper Forsythe said.

"He said that since the ground was wet and cold, he [Mr. Prodoehl] was kneeling near his tackle box," Trooper Forsythe said, demonstrating what Mr. Robertson had done in their cell.

"With the first shot in the back of the head, he was seated, and then with the second, he fell on his back," he said.

Assistant State's Attorney Martha Ann Sitterding said yesterday that the prosecution expects to complete it's case Tuesday.

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