August 30, 2000
Gary Lee Roll is executed for the murders of a woman and her two sons
Roll (41) and accomplices David Rhodes (18) and John Browne (21) unsuccessfully attempted to rob a drug dealer’s house on August 8, 1992, but were deterred after hearing a child inside the home cry out as they tried to force open the front door. They revised their plan to rob another drug dealer, 17-year-old Randy Scheper.
At approximately 4 a.m. on August 9, Roll knocked on the Schepers’ door, claiming to be a police officer and demanding to be let in. When Sherry Scheper (47) complied, Roll and Rhodes entered. Browne, who knew the family and was afraid of being recognized, waited outside. Once inside, the robbers demanded money and drugs. Afraid of being identified later, Roll shot Randy in the head and beat Sherry to death with the gun. She also was stabbed in the back. The group fled with $215 in cash and 12 ounces of marijuana.
According to an article on CapeCounty.us, Curtis (22) was stabbed three times in the back, though he died from exsanguination. Through a blood trail, investigators were able to determine Curtis stumbled through his home, first to check on his brother, then their mother. He stayed with Sherry’s body for some time then attempted to call 911, though the phone lines had been cut. Curtis went to his neighbors’ home and pounded on the door. One of neighbors woke but assumed the knocking had come from the back door rather than the front, and went back to bed. Curtis bled out on their front porch.
Browne later secretly recorded Roll talking about the murders and gave the tape to a friend who in turn gave it to police. All three were quickly arrested.
Rhodes, the lookout, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. Browne, who had not killed anyone directly but was in the home at the time of the murders, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three life terms to be served consecutively. Roll initially pleaded not guilty but later changed the plea to guilty. The judge presiding refused to waive the death penalty and sentenced Roll to death. Roll tried half-heartedly to appeal his sentence; it was suspected that Roll, who had been suffering from chronic jaw pain following a botched dental procedure while he was serving in the military, preferred a relatively fast death to a life in prison without recreational drugs to relieve his pain. His final words were “I failed my family.”
Image source: Murderpedia
Today in Horror History: August 30