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    Death penalty withdrawn in 2001 murder case

    Robert Roy

    Prosecutors have filed a motion in Loudoun County Circuit Court to withdraw a capital murder charge against a West Virginia man accused in connection with a 2001 shooting death.

    Robert Roy, 46, of Hedgesville, is scheduled to face a jury on Oct. 24, charged with capital murder, which carries a maximum sentence of death.

    Roy was indicted by a grand jury in November 2008 for the shooting death of Patrick Blair Hornbaker who was found May 21, 2001, in Hornbaker’s Route 9 home near the West Virginia line.

    In documents filed April 28 by Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Fisher, the prosecutor is asking that the capital murder charge be withdrawn and replaced with a murder charge. 

    “Continuing investigation has revealed information that would statutorily prevent the Commonwealth from proceeding on a charge of capital murder in Count I of the indictment,” Fisher wrote in his motion.

    The precise reason for the reduction in charges has not been released.

    Fisher could not be reached for further comment or information. 

    A hearing on the motion is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 16.

    In addition to capital murder, Roy is charged with robbery, armed burglary and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Prosecutors are asking that those charges stand against Roy.

    Roy is accused of stealing a variety of items from Hornbaker’s home, including jewelry and prescription medication.

    The case went cold for years until 2006 when a new investigator was assigned to the case. Authorities linked Roy as a suspect in the case in the summer of 2007.

    Sheriff Steve Simpson said at the time of Roy’s Nov. 12, 2008, arrest that new information was brought to light that led investigators to him.

    At the time of his arrest, Roy was incarcerated in the Mount Olive Correctional Center in West Virginia on other charges.

    This is a developing story. Check back to for more information as it becomes available.


    Okay, so many things wrong here.  Why are they reducing his charge?  I thought that, in Virginia, capital murder can be charged it’s a murder committed in conjunction with another felony- robbery, armed burglary, etc are all other felonies but those charges will stand???  What’s the point. 

    Then, love this, the case (occurring in 2001) “went cold” until 2006, when another investigator was assigned.  What does that tell you about the first investigator?  Same investigator that was assigned the now-long-cold Erica Smith case?  Someone should look into that.

    Can’t wait until November and the opportunity to get an entirely new law enforcement team in office (new prosecutor, new sheriff).

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