Commonwealth v. Roland Keith Wilson
Pulaski County Circuit Court
Case Numbers CR13-70 and CR13-120
Tried to Jury by K. Mike Fleenor, Jr. and Justin L. Griffith
Second Degree Murder, Serving 40 years.
In September of 2012, a house in the Parrott section of Pulaski County burned to the ground. Stephen Bane, the resident of the house was nowhere to be found. While firefighters looked for Bane in the ruins of the building, little did they know that he was a short distance away in an abandoned house having been murdered. A few days after the fire, Roland Keith Wilson told a friend that there was a dead body in that house. The friend declined to go to the house to see it, but called Wilson’s brother to check it out. After confirming there was a body in the house, Wilson’s friend called the police and they went to the scene to investigate. After confirming that the body was that of Stephen Bane, Sheriff’s detectives began interviewing Wilson’s brother and friend. During this time they also became aware of a man named Matthew Arnold.
Arnold stated that he had been drinking with Roland Wilson and Stephen Bane. He claimed that Wilson and Bane had argued and agreed to fight in the abandoned house. Arnold claimed that he left the area before the fight. Sheriff’s investigators tracked down Wilson who also confirmed that there was a fight, that he had cut Bane but left him there in the building. After a second interview with Arnold, he ultimately admitted that he had gone into the building with Wilson and Bane, that Wilson had attempted to strangle Bane, but when he was unsuccessful, Arnold held him down while Wilson cut his throat. The Medical Examiner concluded that Bane had died from Strangulation and Severe cuts to his throat and neck.
Arnold also said that after the killing of Bane that he and Wilson had gone to Bane’s house and searched for money. When they didn’t find anything of value, they burned it down to conceal any evidence that they had been there. It remains a mystery why Wilson and Arnold wanted to kill Bane. Although it is clear that all three were drinking alcohol no other rationale has been suggested by anyone involved.
Arnold and Wilson moved the Court for separate trials. The Commonwealth tried Roland Wilson first and after a two day jury trial he was found guilty of Second Degree Murder. At the sentencing hearing, Commonwealth Attorney Mike Fleenor introduced evidence of Wilson’s prior convictions in Montgomery County,. Virginia for burglary, theft and arson as well as other offenses. Arguing that Wilson had committed crimes for 22 years and the crimes were getting much more serious, Fleenor successfully convinced the jury to impose the maximum penalty of 40 years for the second degree murder conviction.
Southwest Times trial 1 http://www.southwesttimes.com/2013/11/defendant-allegedly-told-friends-of-murder/