Christopher Roseboro North Carolina Death Row
Christopher Roseboro was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for the murder of Martha “Gertie” Edwards. According to court documents Christopher Roseboro would break into Martha “Gertie” Edwards and would murder the woman during the course of the robbery. Christopher Roseboro would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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The State’s evidence at trial tended to show the following. Roger Bell lived with defendant in a one-bedroom apartment on West Second Avenue beside the victim’s apartment. On the evening of 13 March 1992, Bell and defendant were both at home, and Bell was in need of money to pay rent. He noticed the victim’s apartment was dark, so he removed the window screen, reached inside and took two ceramic vases and a telephone. Bell brought these items to the apartment he shared with defendant and hid them. Bell then went back to the victim’s apartment and crawled in through the window. As he looked for other items to take, he heard someone snoring and discovered the victim asleep in her bed. This unnerved Bell, as he had previously thought no one was at home, so he unlocked the kitchen door and left. Bell explained to defendant what had happened, and together, they decided to go back to the victim’s apartment and take a floor-model television set Bell had seen. They entered the apartment through the kitchen door and carried the victim’s television back to their apartment. Upon returning again to the victim’s apartment to wipe away their fingerprints, Bell noticed defendant walking toward the bedroom. Bell told defendant they needed to leave, but defendant “shushed” him. Bell left defendant in the apartment and went home; he fell asleep before defendant returned.
In the following days, defendant showed Bell a microwave, a radio, silverware and a pocketbook that he had taken from the victim’s apartment after Bell left.
Defendant testified on his own behalf that on the night of 13 March 1992, he smoked crack cocaine and went to bed. He woke up later that evening and saw Bell carrying two ceramic vases and a telephone into their apartment. Defendant asked Bell what he was doing, but Bell told defendant not to worry about anything. Bell left and came back again with a microwave and a radio. This time, defendant asked Bell how he was able to take these things from someone’s house without waking them up. Bell again told defendant not to worry about it. Bell left once more, and while he was gone, defendant smoked more crack cocaine. When Bell returned this time, he had a pocketbook and silverware. Bell gave defendant a twenty-dollar bill he found in the pocketbook, and together, they walked to Cherry Street so defendant could buy some more cocaine. On the way, they passed a topless bar known as “Leather and Lace,” and Bell tossed the pocketbook into the bed of a blue truck in the parking lot.
Defendant decided to go with Bell to the victim’s apartment and take the floor-model television set. When they returned to wipe away any fingerprints they might have left behind, defendant went into the victim’s bedroom. The victim had a pillow over her face, and defendant thought she was dead. Defendant testified he then decided to have sex with the victim.
An autopsy of the victim revealed the presence of several recent bruises on her arms, nose and lips. Additionally, her shoulder bone was dislocated, and fluid was found in her lungs. The pathologist indicated that in his opinion, the cause of death was consistent with smothering. Based upon fluid and blood present in the vagina and lacerations *317 on the vaginal wall, the pathologist concluded the victim had been raped. In the pathologist’s opinion, because of the small amount of blood present in the vagina, the victim died just before she was raped or just after the rape began. According to DNA test results, the DNA banding patterns from the male fraction of the rectal and vaginal swabs taken from the victim were a visual match to the DNA banding patterns of the defendant; this visual match was confirmed by computer analysis. Bell’s DNA banding patterns were a nonmatch. The probability of another unrelated individual having the same DNA banding patterns as defendant’s is approximately 1 in 3.5 billion for the North Carolina black population. Other evidence introduced at trial will be discussed at later points in this opinion where relevant.
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