The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|No physical evidence connected him to crime|
John Robert Arrington Jr.
Monday, March 17, 2014
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
A Bassett man was found not guilty Thursday in Franklin County Circuit Court of malicious wounding and armed burglary in connection with a March 2013 home invasion that left the female resident severely beaten.
John Robert Arrington Jr., 44, was charged in connection with the March 27 incident in which the victim, a 60 year-old woman who lived alone on Philpott Road, was attacked and beaten and prescription drugs taken from the home.
Christina R. Roudabush, 30, who lives across the road from the victim, pleaded guilty in December to burglary in connection with the home invasion. Two additional charges, malicious wounding and petit larceny, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Judge W.N. Alexander II said Thursday that there was no solid evidence against Arrington, except Roudabush's testimony, especially because the victim testified that she could not tell if her attacker was a man or woman. And there were no fingerprints identified at the crime scene.
"Arrington's alibi is pretty solid. Everybody says he was there (at his home)," Alexander said. "I can't find beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the charges."
During the trial, prosecutor Robert Deatherage called Roudabush, two investigators and the victim to the witness stand.
Testimony by investigators showed that a window was open in a bedroom in the victim's home, but there was no physical or forensic evidence found linking Arrington to the crime scene.
The victim said that Roudabush came to her home "just about every day." She said she sometimes gave Roudabush oxycodone and Xanax pills and sometimes charged her for them. The victim, who said she was on disability, also admitted she sold prescription pills to supplement her income.
The victim said she knew Arrington because Roudabush had brought him to her house on a couple of occasions. She said Arrington came with Roudabush one day and fixed her car. When Arrington complained about his back hurting, she gave him some oxycodone, which he took.
Under cross examination by defense attorney David Furrow, the victim said she could not tell if her attacker was male or female, but said the person was large, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, which conflicted with an earlier statement that her attacker was of "small frame."
Roudabush testified that Arrington came to her house on March 27 about 5:45 a.m. They talked for a while and went across the road to the victim's home about 6:30 a.m.
Roudabush said she climbed through the window she had left open earlier and took a container of pills. She exited the house through the same window.
Roudabush said she gave the container of pills to Arrington, but he wasn't satisfied and went back into the house through the window.
"He was in the house about 10 minutes," Roudabush said. "I heard a bunch of noise and then he came out and said everything was fine. I freaked out and he went to his car parked in my driveway and left."
Roudabush admitted that she at first told police she didn't know anything about the incident before she admitted her part in the home invasion.
"I finally got to the point that I just wanted it to be over," she said.
Furrow told Roudabush that Arrington had a prescription for pain pills.
"He gave you pills. He didn't need any," Furrow said.
At one point in the investigation, Investigator Jay Mason gave Arrington a tape recorder when he agreed to tape his conversations with Roudabush, who was suspected of being involved in the incident. Mason testified that Arrington later said he destroyed the recorder because he didn't want to be known as a "snitch."
Witnesses who testified on behalf of Arrington included his two children, friends of his children, his mother, and his ex-wife. All of those witnesses testified that they came to Arrington's home in Bassett on the evening of March 26 to celebrate his daughter's 17th birthday.
Arrington's ex-wife said she didn't leave the birthday party until about 4:45 a.m on March 27. When she left, Arrington was asleep on the couch in the living room, where he had been throughout the previous evening.
Arrington's two children testified that they got up on March 27 at 6 a.m. to prepare for school. Both said their father was asleep on the couch when they left for school.
In his closing arguments, Deatherage said that the defendant's witnesses "have reason to bend the truth to support John Arrington."
He agreed that there was no physical evidence linking Arrington to the crime, but Deatherage said all the circumstantial evidence led to one conclusion.
"If you put all of it together, it's common sense," Deatherage said. "It made it easy for them (Roudabush and Arrington) to do this."
In his closing arguments, Furrow said Roudabush changed her story to authorities and lacked credibility. He also said there was nothing to corroborate her testimony.
Arrington was ordered to pay $45 for the tape recorder, which he destroyed. He was also ordered to pay a $250 fine.
As for Roudabush, her sentencing was delayed until she testified at Arrington's trial as part of her plea agreement.