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Jury deliberations to resume today in slaying trial


A Carroll County jury was to resume deliberations today in the case of Roy Monroe Robertson, who is accused of killing his friend beside the Monocacy River in February 1993.

After the jury deliberated for about two hours yesterday without reaching a verdict, Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. sent the group of five men and seven women home.

The jurors were to return to resume deliberations at 10 a.m.

Mr. Robertson is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and the use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence in the death of William Charles Prodoehl.

Mr. Prodoehl's wife, Gina, and Mr. Robertson told police they found Mr. Prodoehl's body in the snow on Feb. 18, 1993. The victim had been shot twice in the head.

Police said Mrs. Prodoehl and the defendant, who had been having an affair for about three years, said they had gone looking for Mr. Prodoehl when he did not return home from a fishing trip in Taneytown.

The three had been living in Westminster in the Prodoehls' Singer Drive townhouse for about a year before the victim's death, police said.

During closing arguments yesterday, Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes sought to connect the pieces of circumstantial evidence presented during the past 2 1/2 weeks to show a picture of Mr. Robertson as a methodical killer.

"There was no one else," Mr. Barnes said repeatedly during his 2 1/2 -hour closing argument in which he stated that only Mr. Robertson had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime.

"After you've reviewed all the evidence, you need only be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt," Mr. Barnes said. "When that is over, you should be able to convict him beyond any doubt."

Mr. Barnes also attempted to lead jury members to conclusions about what seemingly insignificant evidence meant.

For example, he said that the note Mr. Prodoehl left saying he was going fishing in Taneytown in some ways pointed to the guilt of Mr. Robertson.

Witnesses in the trial testified that Mr. Robertson met Mr. Prodoehl at home and told him that he would meet him at their fishing spot in Taneytown.

However, Mr. Robertson told the police that he declined Mr. Prodoehl's invitation to go fishing because he did not feel well.

Mr. Prodoehl "left a note for his wife because the only other guy who could tell her where he would be" was Mr. Robertson, Mr. Barnes told the jury. "If the defendant was not going fishing, he would have been there to tell Gina Prodoehl where Charles was."

In his closing argument, Carroll County Assistant Public Defender Daniel Shemer pointed out to the jury what he said were inconsistencies in testimony.

For one, Mr. Shemer noted that testimony indicating that Mr. Prodoehl had been shot while looking into his tackle box could be contradicted by the way the fishing gear was found.

Police had theorized that Mr. Prodoehl, who was found lying on his back with his feet against the tackle box, had fallen backward when shot. However, Mr. Shemer noted that the hinge of the tackle box was facing toward Mr. Prodoehl.

"It seems mighty unlikely that someone would go through their tackle box at the back end," Mr. Shemer said. "Normally, you'd flip it around to look in it [from the front]."

Mr. Shemer also pointed out that the path of one bullet -- from the lower part of the head toward the top -- seemed to indicate that a person smaller than Mr. Prodoehl killed him.

"Someone 5 foot 2 and about 80 or 90 pounds, just like Gina Prodoehl," Mr. Shemer said, an accusation he has made throughout the trial. "If they were standing up, it wasn't someone who was his height because the trajectory would have been higher."

Police testified last week that Mrs. Prodoehl is considered a suspect in the death of her husband.

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