An Athens County man whose body was found in a well beneath the porch of his home on Monday was beaten to death, Athens County Prosecutor Keller J. Blackburn said yesterday.
Blackburn identified the man as Paul E. Roberts, 63, of Glouster, who had been missing since earlier this month.
The county coroner determined that Roberts was hit twice with an object and died between Oct. 4 and Oct. 6.
Though he hasn’t been charged with murder, Roberts’ son, Paul J. Roberts, 41, also of Glouster, confessed yesterday to killing his dad to WBNS-TV (Channel 10). He said that he hit his dad in the head with a metal bar after his father threatened him with a knife during an argument.
The younger Roberts is being held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville after being charged on Friday with one count of vandalism, a fifth-degree felony.
That charge came after neighbors of his father’s told police that they saw the son removing property from his father’s home.
The elder Roberts’ body was found Monday on the property, about 8 feet down an old, unused well. The well was concealed by a partial cover and a car hood that had been placed over the cover, Blackburn said.
During the interview with WBNS-TV, Roberts talked about putting his father’s body in the well.
“I saw the well there and I thought, ‘Well, there we go. I’ll just drop him down that and he’ll just be gone, and it’ll all be just OK,’??” Roberts said. Now, though, Roberts said he is haunted by what he did.
When asked what he would tell his children, he replied, “I’m a monster. I’m horrible. ... I took his life, and it will never be right. Nothing will ever be right ever again.”
Blackburn said yesterday that he filed a warrant to keep the younger Roberts in jail on a $100,000 bond for eight felonies, for which he is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov.?4. They include forgery, identity fraud, aggravated possession of drugs, grand theft of a motor vehicle and theft. Roberts pleaded guilty to those crimes in August, court records show.
Roberts, who had a history of drug problems, committed many of the crimes against his father, including using his father’s identity to cash checks, Blackburn said.
Blackburn said he plans to present evidence to a grand jury on Monday for possible charges in the killing.
He’ll also talk to the grand jury about the younger Roberts’ brother-in-law, Robert A. Degarmore, 52, also of Glouster. He was jailed yesterday on a charge of complicity to receive stolen property. Blackburn said he used the elder Roberts’ stolen credit card on Oct. 8 to buy gas.
And Roberts’ wife — Rhonda S. Degarmore, 37 — was arrested on a probation violation on Sunday. She also is being held in the Nelsonville jail.
WBNS-TV (Channel 10) Reporter Glenn McEntyre contributed to this story.
By Mary Beth Lane - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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