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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Police have no leads in county's first homicide of 2008; Port Arthur victim a registered sex offender

1-21-2008 Texas:

Port Arthur's first homicide victim of the year was a registered sex offender paroled about five years ago, according to Department of Public Safety records.

And despite a day's work Tuesday, police have no suspect information or description of a vehicle - if any - the person may have been in, Port Arthur Police Sgt. Rodney Harrison said.

"It was a walk-by," Harrison said of the random killing.

Harrison said the department's Major Crime Team is investigating.

Edward Roberts, 56, was shot at his home at 147 Fifth St. and later died at Christus St. Mary Hospital.

The 6-foot-4, 284-pound Roberts was convicted on June 6, 1984, of aggravated sexual assault. The victim was an 8-year-old girl, according to DPS records.

He was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but was paroled May 6, 2002.

A criminal background search indicated only financial judgments against Roberts since his release.

Port Arthur is recording its first 2008 homicide nearly a month sooner than the city's initial 2007 murder on Feb. 20, when Special Rubien was killed in her Port Arthur apartment by ex-boyfriend John Sanders. Sanders was shot by police in an ensuing chase.

Her death was one of 11 homicides in 2007, the city's highest total since 1999. One was ruled justifiable and another accidental.

Harrison said the department naturally is disappointed about this year's first killing, but noted the early timing does not necessarily indicate a violent year ahead.

"We'd like to go the rest of the year without another homicide, but there's no magic formula to predicting (homicides)."

"I wish we could go forever without a homicide."

Harrison said he and other officers were out all night investigating the slaying and that Port Arthur Police will do what they always do to solve a homicide.

"We take each one very seriously ... It's the worst crime a person could commit."
Roberts was shot in his home Sunday night after a person walked up to his residence and fired shots through a window, striking Roberts and his girlfriend, Harrison said. Both were taken to St. Mary where Roberts was pronounced dead and his girlfriend was in stable condition as of Monday evening.
Police would not disclose where Roberts was shot or what kind of weapon was used.

Sunday's homicide also marks the first homicide of 2008 in Jefferson County.

Jefferson County recorded its first homicide of 2007 on Jan. 28 in Beaumont when Wilber Franklin was killed after being stabbed in the chest during an altercation at a residence at 1880 Fairway St.

Anyone with information about Sunday's shooting is asked to call (409) 724-8477. ..more.. by FRED DAVIS, The Enterprise

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