Jason Roe guilty; no decision against wife

November 15, 2013
At left, Jason Roe was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in his trial for the August 2012 shooting death of Cordele Patterson. The Greene County jury was unable to reach a verdict against Lana Roe, right, and Judge William Nalitz declared a mistrial. - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – After deliberating for a little more than five hours Friday, a Greene County jury found Jason William Roe, 32, guilty of first-degree murder in the August 2012 shooting death of Cordele Edward Patterson, 38, of Daisytown. Roe also was found guilty of an additional charge of aggravated assault for shooting his wife the same day.

However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict against Roe’s wife and co-defendant, Lana Kay Roe, 41, compelling Judge William Nalitz to declare a mistrial. Nalitz polled the jury as to whether further deliberations against Lana Roe would be fruitful. Each juror responded that it would not.

Patterson’s family hugged the state troopers and members of the district attorney’s office, thanking them for securing justice for their son. Roe’s attorney, Harry Cancelmi, said he was “disappointed with the verdict.”

In his closing argument, Cancelmi said, “Somebody has to make up their mind here. Was Jason attacking Lana or was she an accomplice,” Cancelmi said.

Cancelmi said it came down to what was in the mind of Jason Roe on August 14, 2012.

“That is the only way you are going to be able to decide if he committed a crime and what crime he committed,” Cancelmi said of Roe.

He tried to place doubt as to whether his client was acting in self-defense or protecting his wife, thus justifying his actions.

Assistant District Attorney Linda Chambers said the commonwealth will retry Lana Roe, but she declined further comment on the matter.

During her closing statement, Chambers said the cases against the Roes were separate.

“You think this was a mistake that someone could be shot at very close range in the shoulder then have his neck blown out, and that’s a mistake?” Chambers said angrily in her closing. “That’s an intentional killing. These two killed Cordele Patterson. You heard from them but did you hear from Cordele, no, because they silenced him.”

Chambers said Lana got hit and that wasn’t part of the plan, “unless it was part of Jason’s plan and she didn’t know it. What we do know is he shot her in the face and killed Cordele Patterson. This was an intentional first-degree murder that went wrong.”

The Roes were led out of the courthouse in handcuffs and back to jail where Jason Roe will await sentencing and Lana Roe will wait for a new trial. The sentence for first-degree murder in the state of Pennsylvania is life in prison.

“We’re extremely satisfied,” said Michael Bigley, Lana Roe’s attorney. In his closing statement, Bigley told the jury the Commonwealth had a “very, very high burden of proof” before a jury could find his client acted in concert with Jason Roe to kill Patterson.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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