Commonwealth rests with conflicting accounts by defendant
At left, Jason Roe enters court on the first day of his trial for the homicide of Cordele Patterson. At right, Lana Roe steps off the elevator prior to entering the courtroom for day one of the trial against her and her husband, Jason, for the death by homicide of Cordele Patterson of Grindstone.
Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter
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WAYNESBURG – Conflicting statements to police by defendant Lana Kay Roe were the focus of testimony Wednesday in the homicide trial of Roe and her husband, Jason Roe, in connection with the death of Cordele Edward Patterson of Daisytown Aug. 14, 2012. The trial will resume at 9 a.m. today when the defense opens its case.
Lead investigator Trooper Jeremy Barni said he interviewed Lana Roe on three separate occasions. Initially, Barni considered Roe to be a victim of a shooting by her husband but by the time the third interview took place Aug. 24, additional information led him to consider her as a suspect.
In her first statement Aug. 14, Roe told Barni she did not know Patterson was at the cabin in Wayne Township until she approached it and saw him leave it. She also said she did not fire her Glock handgun and she believed her husband shot her by accident.
On Aug. 15, she was interviewed again when she went to the cabin with Barni and other officers. At this point, she changed her story to say Patterson was on the front porch of the cabin when she approached it.
During an interview Aug. 24, she gave two versions of what took place. When Barni began to introduce new information he had learned about what took place Aug. 13 and 14, she admitted knowing Patterson was at the cabin and said her husband told her to go inside and get Patterson when they arrived at the property. Roe said she found him asleep on the futon and led him outside.
When they exited the cabin, she told Patterson she needed to go to the bathroom and when he stopped that’s when she said she was shot.
She told Barni prior to arriving at the cabin Jason had her stop the Jeep on Strawn Hill Road so he could test fire the Mossburg shotgun they had purchsed earlier in Dry Tavern.
“She said Jason fired the gun two times at two different trees out the window (of the Jeep) to see the two different spray patterns of one ammo compared to the other ammo,” Barni said. “She said she never touched the shotgun.”
Barni said Roe told him she went to Waynesburg with Patterson Aug. 13 to purchase Suboxone pills from a residence on Toll Gate Run Road. She would later tell staff at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, where she was treated for gunshot wounds, she had taken Suboxone. A urinalysis indicated she had cocaine in her system but not Suboxone. A doctor from the hospital testified that Roe told him she thought her husband shot her on purpose.
Former West Pike Run Township police officer, Phillip Podroskey, currently a road supervisor for the township, told the court he was conducting roadwork Aug. 13 when Patterson’s neighbor Paula N’Ketia approached him. She told Podroskey she believed the Roes were taking things from Patterson’s trailer without permission.
Podroskey said he only saw Jason Roe there. “He told me, ‘That no good n---- stole my stuff. I called the state police and they told me to go in and get my stuff,’” Roe told Podroskey.
Paramedic William Stammler, who worked for EMS Southwest at the time of the homicide, spoke to Lana Roe in route to Ruby Memorial Hospital Aug. 14.
“She said they were taking food to a friend to a cabin up the road. When she and her friend walked out of the cabin her husband started shooting,” Stammler said. “She said it was a shotgun and she didn’t know her husband had put it in the vehicle.”
Stammler said Roe told him she ran to her vehicle and her husband was still shooting. She said she and her husband were trying to work things out after she had recently filed a protection from abuse order against him and said she did not think he shot her by accident.
West Virginia State Trooper Christopher Berry was among officers who apprehended Jason Roe in Morgantown Aug. 14.
Berry said Roe stopped his vehicle when he saw the approaching patrol cars, placed his hands on the outside of the driver’s side door and said, “I give up. I surrender.”
Videos of his arrest and as he was transported to the West Virginia State Police barracks were shown to the jury. Roe told police Patterson robbed their house and stole all of their guns. He said he heard shots when he was at the cabin and was trying to protect his wife.
“I’m pretty sure the guy is dead,” Roe can be heard telling officers. “I never meant to hurt my wife. I told my wife to run. I didn’t know he was still there. I told her to run.”
Roe would later tell Barni he thought he saw a black male through the window of the cabin. He said he heard shots and accidently shot his wife while protecting her from Patterson, who he said was approaching her from behind. Roe said it was self-defense. Barni said Roe told him Patterson did not have a gun or anything else in his hands when he shot him.