Special Rollo Notes

The following newspaper articles pertain to the murder of our classmate, Charles Rollo.  Other information is listed under "In Memory" for Charles.  (Not living in Natchitoches during the time of Charles' death and murder investigation, I found these articles very interesting.  I will continue to add more as I locate them.  MLPB)


Charles Jefferson Rollo, Jr.

July 10, 1944 - April 15, 1979 (34 years of age)

Man Found Murdered

Natchitoches Sheriff's Deputies have found no apparent motive and only a few leads in the shooting death of Charles Rollo, 34, of Natchitoches, Sunday night.

According to Chief Boyd Durr of the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office, Rollo's body was found Sunday night at approximately 9:30 p.m. by his wife.  The body was found lying in the driveway of his home.

According to the Natchitoches Parish Coroner, Dr. Charles Cook, Rollo was killed by a single shotgun blast at close range.  "I would say the range was about 15 feet or less," said Cook.  "The wadding from the shot hit the body."  The No. 1 buckshot entered Rollo's body approximately four inches below his right shoulder, penetrating his heart and lungs and two of the buckshot exited on the left side of the body.  "He was probably dead before he hit the ground," said Cook.  The coroner placed the time of death at approximately 7 p.m.  The weapon used in the murder was identified as a 12 gauge shotgun by sheriff's deputies.

According to deputies, robbery was not the motive.  "He still had his rings on when we found him and nothing seems to have been taken from the home," said Durr.

The Sheriff's Office is in the process of investigating the murder.

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From The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, May 3, 1979:

Third Suspect Arrested in Rollo Murder

"We have three down, with two, possibly three more to go," said Natchitoches Parish Sam James Tuesday morning after the third murder suspect in the Charles Rollo slaying turned himself into the Sheriff Monday afternoon.

Earlier Roosevelt Dison and W. C. Clark of Coushatta were arrested.

The third suspect is James "Jimmy" Salim, formerly of Natchitoches, who is presently general manager of the Bossier Press in Bossier City.

Salim voluntarily turned himself into the Sheriff's office Monday evening after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest.  He was charged with first degree murder by 10th Judicial District Judge Peyton Cunningham Tuesday morning, who at the time set no bail.

That same morning in a news conference, District Attorney Ronald Martin said he filed charges of conspiracy to commit murder against all three suspects, which allowed bail to be set.

Martin emphasized, "I have not reduced the charges against them."

"According to Louisiana law," the DA said, "only the Grand Jury can initiate murder charges.  Then, if the Grand Jury feels there is enough evidence to try the men, they will be remanded to the courts for trial on whatever charge the Grand Jury gives."

Later Tuesday, 10th Judicial District Judge R. B. Williams set bond at $10,000 on each of the three suspects.  Salim and Clark made bail and Dison chose to remain in custody.

Salim's arrest came after the sheriff's office received evidence that linked Salim with the murder.  "We can't say too much right now since the investigation still entails a lot of footwork," commented James.

The missing links have slowly been falling into place for the sheriff's department.  First came the arrest of Roosevelt Dison on Friday, April 20, on a charge of first -degree murder.  The discovery of the murder weapon at the bottom of Bayou Pierre connected Dison, a former Angola State Penitentiary inmate, with the murder.

Rollo's body was found by his wife the night of April 15 lying in his driveway.  Coroner Charles Cook said death came from a single blast from a 12-gauge shotgun to the chest.

The weapon used was a Luigi-Franchi automatic 12-gauge shotgun.  Ownership of the shotgun was traced to Donald F. Wille, publisher of the Bossier Press.

Wille  told Bossier Parish sheriff's deputies that he owned six of the guns.  One of the guns he had given to Salim and one to another friend.  The other four he had kept for himself and stored in a closet in his home.

Wille allowed the sheriff's deputies into his home and upon examination of the four gun boxes, the deputies found one of the four guns missing.  Wille said the gun was stolen.

The murder weapon was discovered after a car seen leaving the Rollo driveway about the time of the shooting was later seen stopped on the Bayou Pierre bridge.  Divers from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's office and Louisiana State Police found the gun after searching for over two hours.

The weapon was identified as the murder weapon by analysts at the Northwest Louisiana crime lab in Shreveport.

One April 27, deputies connected the car seen on the bridge with W. C. Clark, who was first arrested on charges of first-degree murder.

Robert "Skeeter" Salim, the brother of Jimmy Salim, was hired to defend Clark; however, he resigned when a lawyer from the law firm of Camille Gravel of Alexandria was hired to represent both Salim and Clark.

The district attorney said that the sheriff's office is still investigating the murder and has subpoenaed telephone records of the Bossier City men and a resident of Allen.

Martin said that motions for a preliminary examination were filed in the office of Clerk of Court.  The examination will be held between May 14-18.

During the examination the district attorney will present all the evidence he has.  Judge Williams will preside at the examination and will issue a ruling as to whether the charges against the men are valid.

Martin said a grand jury has been called to convene May 29.

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From The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, May 17, 1979

Rollo Hearing Postponed

The preliminary hearing of evidence against two suspects connected with the Rollo murder case has been postponed until a later date, claimed Assistant District Attorney, Mike Henry.  As of yet, no future date has been given.

The hearing, in which the state would have presented evidence against Jimmy Salim of Bossier City and W. C. Clark of Coushatta, both charged with conspiracy to commit murder, would have taken place on Tuesday, May 15, but has been delayed at the request of Michael Small, the Alexandria attorney for Salim and Clark.

Small asked for the delay due to another court case he had scheduled.  The District Attorney's office agreed to the delay, and a joint motion will be presented to Judge R. B. Williams, the presiding judge in the case.

Salim and Clark were arrested after an investigation by the Natchitoches Sheriff's Office linked them to the Charles Rollo murder, who was killed at his home on April 15.  Both Salim and Clark have been released on $10,000 bond.

Another suspect, Roosevelt Dison of Coushatta, is currently in jail facing murder charges.  Dison, who originally had been detained in the Natchitoches Parish Jail, has been moved to an undisclosed jail, where (he) is in protective custody.

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From The Natchitoches Times, Sunday, May 27, 1979:

Anderson Subpoenaed For Grand Jury

In District Court Friday morning, with Judge R. B. Williams presiding, Assistant District Attorney Mike Henry and the attorney for R. C. "Pat" Anderson, Russell Gahagan, locked horns.

A subpoena had been issued to Anderson to appear at 10 a.m. Friday before Sheriff Sam James to be questioned, in the course of the investigation, concerning the Charles Rollo murder case.  Gahagan filed an opposition to the subpoena at 9 a.m.  Gahagan claimed that Anderson could not appear because of illness.

A letter written by Anderson's doctor claimed that Anderson had suffered a stroke, compounded by pneumonia, and could not take any stress of any kind.

Henry stated that he would not mind Anderson being questioned in the presence xxx his doctor or any kind of medical machines that Anderson needed.  Gahagan stood firm in his contention that Anderson's illness made it impossible to question him.

Judge Williams then gave the Assistant District Attorney the power to form a panel of doctors to examine Anderson and find out if he is physically able to undergo questioning.

According to Henry, he is hesitating to use this power because of the fact that Anderson has been subpoenaed by the Grand Jury, and if Anderson again files an opposition due to illness, the Grand Jury may empanel the doctors anyway.

Also in court, it was revealed that Anderson's bank records from March 1 to April 20, 1979 have been subpoenaed by the state.

The Grand Jury will meet Tuesday, May 29, to begin deliberation on the Charles Rollo murder.

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From The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, May 31, 1979:

Grand Jury Indicts Two In Rollo Murder

After deliberating for over eight hours Tuesday, the Natchitoches Parish grand jury returned indictments on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Roosevelt Dison and W. C. Clark, both suspects in the Charles Rollo, Jr. killing.

No action was taken by the grand jury regarding James R. Salim, of Bossier City, and R. C. Anderson, of Allen.  According to Assistant District Attorney, Mike Henry, the grand jury did not make any decision on the two, but will re-examine the existing evidence and any new evidence against them when the grand jury reconvenes on July 10.

R. C. Anderson, grandfather of Rollo's wife, had been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.  Anderson's attorney contended that he was too ill to appear for questioning, because he is recovering from a recent stroke and bout with pneumonia.  A hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. June 7, for Anderson to show cause why he should not be held in contempt.  "The burden of proof is on him at this hearing," commented Henry.

According to the D. A.'s office, Anderson's bank and telephone records have been subpoenaed for the investigation.

On the evening of April 15, the body of Charles Rollo was found by his wife in his driveway, apparently killed by a shotgun blast.

Parish deputies began investigating the murder, and following up on leads, arrested Roosevelt Dison, of Coushatta, on murder charges within a week after the killing.  Divers had recovered the murder weapon, a 12-gauge shotgun, in 18 feet of water in Bayou Pierre.

Soon after the Dison arrest, deputies arrested W. C. Clark, also of Coushatta, on charges of murder.

Following further investigation, which was first headed by Chief Boyd Durr and later by Sheriff Sam James, James R. "Jimmy" Salim, vice-president and general manager of the Bossier Press, was arrested on murder charges.

District Attorney Ronald Martin later reduced the charges on Clark (not legible)... $10,000 bond.  None was made by Dison and he was recently removed to an undisclosed jail site.  Martin then called for the grand jury to convene on May 29.

Approximately 36 witnesses showed up for the grand jury, with Dison, Clark, and Salim appearing before the grand jury for less than five minutes each.  Clark was later picked up in Coushatta and taken into custody again.  No bond has been set for either Dison or Clark.

The trial of Dison and Clark could take possibly a year to begin, but Assistant DA Mike Henry doesn't feel that it will take that long.

If Dison and Clark are both convicted by a jury of first degree murder, they could receive the death penalty as a maximum sentence.  The minimum sentence for first degree murder is life imprisonment, without parole, probation or suspension of sentence.

Clark and Salim are being represented by J. Michael Small of the Alexandria law firm of Gravel, Roy and Burnes.

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From The Natchitoches Times, June 7, 1979:

Jury Foreman Resigns

E. I. Moss, foreman of the Natchitoches Parish grand jury, resigned from his position on the grand jury Friday, and was excused from his duties by Judge Peyton Cunningham.

According to Judge Cunningham, Moss resigned his position to accept a job as a deputy sheriff for the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office.

Moss had been foreman of the grand jury that recently indicted Roosevelt Dison and W. C. Clark in the murder of Charles Rollo.

Speculation had it that because of Moss' resignation from the grand jury, the recent indictments in the Rollo case would have to be thrown out and the grand jury reconvened with the new member.  According to Judge Cunningham, Moss' resignation should not change the grand jury rulings.  "This should not affect the case at all.  The only thing will be that the new grand juror will be ignorant of the proceedings concerning the case, but then it only takes nine of the grand jurors to agree to indict someone," said Cunningham.  "The new grand juror could abstain from voting if he wants to."

Judge Cunningham excused Moss from serving on the grand jury, since the Louisiana Constitution provides an exemption for law enforcement officials.

Since the resignation became effective, both Judge Williams and Judge Cunningham have issued an order for persons on the grand jury venue to appear on July 10, the next date that the grand jury will convene.  All the people whose names are on grand jury venue (the list of people who are on the grand jury rolls) will be subpoenaed to appear in court.  On this day, Clerk of Court, Irby Knotts, will draw the name of the next grand juror out of a box.  Also, the name of the next foreman of the grand jury will be selected.

In other news concerning the grand jury, on Thursday, June 7, at 10 a.m., a hearing will be held in which R. C. "Pat" Anderson will have to show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt of court.

When the grand jury convened on May 29, Anderson had been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury to answer questions concerning the Charles Rollo murder case.  He did not show up, with his lawyer stating that Anderson was too ill to appear.

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From The Natchitoches Times, June 10, 1979:

Williams Rules Anderson Not In Contempt

In a hearing conducted Thursday, in which R. C. "Pat" Anderson was to show why he should not be held in contempt of court, Judge R. B. Williams ruled that Anderson was not in contempt when he did not appear before the Grand Jury on May 29 in connection with the Rollo murder case.

Judge Williams ruled that Anderson did not act in defiance of the Grand Jury subpoena to appear, but was acting upon his doctor's warning that an appearance would be a very stressful situation.  Williams then ruled that Anderson's attorney, Russell Gahagan,  and the prosecuting attorney Mike Henry, should present to the court a proposition in which Anderson could be questioned by the Grand Jury and be under medical supervision, but would be able to preserve the secrecy of the Grand Jury.

Dr. I. L. Campbell, Anderson's personal physician, was called as the first witness.  Campbell, who has known Anderson for about 20 years, stated that he had given the court two certificates, once on May 23 and again on May 29, stating that Anderson could not appear because of illness.

Campbell stated that Anderson had suffered a stroke on April 4, and has since been suffering from increasing dizziness, blood pressure fluctuation, hypertension, paralysis in the left arm, and is unable to think clearly.  Campbell said that Anderson was not able to take any type of stress, and appearing before the grand jury would have been extremely stressful.

During the cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Mike Henry, Campbell said that he had examined Anderson on May 25 and found his blood pressure to be 140 over 80.  Campbell stated that Anderson was taking three types of modification, one for his blood pressure, one to think his blood, and another that was an anti-depressant.  According to Campbell, Anderson is suffering from acute depression.  Campbell said that since Anderson's blood pressure fluctuates, he would not be able to predict when his blood pressure would be low enough to be questioned.

Campbell said that Anderson's stroke had not affected his speech greatly, and he was able to put words together.  The doctor said that he had not restricted any of Anderson's activities, and in fact wished that he would get about more, but any travelling done by Anderson would have to be done with assistance, since he could not get about alone.

The next witness to appear was Anderson's wife, Laura.  Mrs. Anderson stated that her husband had not been able to think properly or use his left arm since the stroke.  She also stated that he has not been able to read or write since then, but she told the court that since Anderson had his stroke, he had walked to the store several times, which was a distance of about 400 yards.

During the cross-examination by Henry, Mrs. Anderson revealed that on May 16, she had driven Anderson, who was accompanied by a lawyer, to Alexandria to purchase some land.  Soon after that, she, along with Anderson, had visited their grandson at his school.  Mrs. Anderson also stated that once they had gone to get their car serviced at Daray Motor, Anderson had gotten out of the car at the shop.

Mrs. Anderson's final statement was that Anderson did not appear before the Grand Jury, not out of defiance, but because he was not able due to his bad health.

Henry then called a witness for the prosecution, James Phillips, manager of Daray Motor Company.  Phillips stated that on May 25, about 4 p.m., Mrs. Anderson, accompanied by Mr. Anderson, had driven their car into the shop and complained about a window that was malfunctioning.  Phillips stated that both had complained to him about the malfunction, and he was able to understand what Anderson was saying.  Phillips stated that Anderson got out of the car, and he was seen talking to some of the salesmen inside the office.

The next witness called was George Matthews, a mechanic at Daray Motor Company.  Matthews stated that he saw the Anderson car drive up and noticed that Anderson was in the car.  Soon after this, Matthews got off from work, and went directly to the A&P grocery store.  While at the A&_, he saw Anderson and his wife at the store.  Mrs. Anderson was inside the store, while Pat was standing beside his car.

Matthews stated that as he went out of the store, he heard someone yell.  He turned to look, and saw Pat Anderson standing by his car and heard him yell loudly to his wife, "We aren't down there."  Matthews explained that Anderson appeared to be yelling to his wife to direct her to the car since she was heading away from the car.  Matthews testified that the apparent distance between Anderson and his wife was approximately 150 feet.

The final witness called was Deputy Glen Dove, who served a subpoena on Anderson on May 15.  Dove stated that he served Anderson his subpoena at his home in Allen, and found Anderson seated at his bar preparing to eat dinner.  Dove testified that he not only served the subpoena to Anderson but also read it to him.  According to Dove, he had no trouble understanding what Anderson was saying to him when he served the subpoena.

After the final witness stepped down, Judge Williams ruled that Anderson could reply to normal questioning as long as he was not subjected to a too severe cross examination.  "It appears that when Anderson wants to do something, he does get about," said Judge Williams.

Judge Williams then ruled that Anderson was not in contempt when he did not appear before the Grand Jury, but did determine that Anderson could be questioned if it could be done while he was under medical supervision.

Anderson was summoned to appear again in court on Friday, this time to answer to charges of careless and reckless driving and carrying a concealed weapon, which went back to early April.

Anderson's attorney, Fred Gahagan, answered the charges with a plea of not guilty on each charge, in the absence of Anderson.

Judge Cunningham ordered Anderson to appear for trial on July 13 at 9 a.m.

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 From The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, June 28, 1979

Anderson Ordered To Appear Before Jury

Tenth Judicial District Court Judge R. B. Williams has ordered R. C. "Pat" Anderson to appear before the Natchitoches Parish Grand Jury on July 10 to testify in the Charles Rollo murder case.

Anderson had been ordered to appear at the last grand jury session on May 29, but failed to appear.  Anderson's counsel, Russell Gahagan, appeared before Judge Williams on June 7 to show cause why Anderson should not be held in contempt of court for not appearing before the May 29 grand jury.  Gahagan stated that Anderson had suffered a stroke and was too ill to appear before the grand jury.  Judge Williams found Anderson not in contempt, but ruled that the District Attorney should make suggestions as to how Anderson could be (questioned) but still be under medical supervision.

Judge Williams ordered that Anderson must appear before the grand jury on July 10, but if Anderson feels that he can't appear because of illness, he or his counsel should notify the court by July 5, and then the grand jury will convene at the board room of the Natchitoches Parish Hospital.

If Anderson testifies at the hospital board room, then a deputy sheriff will stand guard outside the door and doctors Ira A. Campbell and Charles Cook will be present outside the room if it becomes necessary to attend Anderson.

If Anderson doesn't notify the court that he is too ill to appear by July 5, then the court will assume that he is well enough  to appear before the grand jury at the courthouse.

If Anderson does not comply with either of the orders, then Sheriff Sam James has been ordered to take Anderson into custody and hold him until the grand jury can again convene.

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 From The Natchitoches Times, July 12, 1979

Salim Indicted for Murder

Grand Jury Pretermit Charges Against Pat Anderson

After deliberating for more than seven hours, the Natchitoches Parish Grand Jury returned indictments of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder against James R. "Jimmy" Salim, of Bossier City Tuesday.

The grand jury pretermitted the charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder against R. C. "Pat" Anderson, meaning they would take no further action against him until the grand jury could reconvene.

The grand jury also ordered the District Attorney's office to furnish and provide to the United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, all evidence heard by the grand jury concerning possible violations of Federal Criminal Statutes in loan transactions by Anderson.

The grand jury heard testimony from only four witnesses in Tuesday's session.  Anderson testified for approximately 30 minutes, while his wife, Mrs. Laura Anderson, only stayed before the grand jury a total of 10 minutes.

Chief Deputy Boyd Durr testified before the jury for over an hour.  The District Attorney's office produced another witness, Eddie Ray Jackson, an inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.  Jackson testified before the grand jury for approximately 45 minutes.  Assistant District Attorney Mike Henry would not give any details as to how Jackson's testimony would have any bearing on the Charles Rollo murder case.

Soon after the Easter Sunday shotgun killing of Charles Rollo, Natchitoches Parish deputies arrested Roosevelt Dison, W. C. Clark and James R.  "Jimmy" Salim, and charges all three men with murder.  The District Attorney later reduced the charges of W. C. Clark and Jimmy Salim from murder to conspiracy to commit murder, causing a further rift between the Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office. 

When the grand jury first convened on May 29, it returned two indictments of murder and conspiracy to commit murder against both Dison and Clark.  The grand jury pretermitted any action against Jimmy Salim until they could reconvene.

Anderson had been subpoenaed to appear before the May 29 grand jury, but failed to appear.  The date of June 7 was set when Anderson would have to show cause of why he should not be held in contempt of court for not appearing before the grand jury.  Anderson's lawyer, Russell Gahagan, stated that a recent bout with a stroke and pneumonia had left Anderson too ill to appear before the grand jury.

Judge R. B. Williams ruled that Anderson was not in contempt of court, but instructed the District Attorney and Anderson's lawyer should devise a way that Anderson could be questioned but still be under a doctor's supervision.  Judge Williams later ruled that if Anderson felt that he was too ill, the grand jury would convene in the board room of the Natchitoches Parish Hospital, where two doctors would be waiting outside should Anderson need them.  Anderson would have to notify the court by July 5 as whether he would testify before the grand jury at the hospital or the courthouse.  The judge's order stated that if Anderson felt he could appear at the courthouse, then there would be no need for him to notify the court.  Anderson did not notify the court, and the grand jury convened in the parish courthouse.

Chief Boyd Durr and his deputies were especially pleased after the grand jury filed the indictments against Salim.  The reduction of charges against Salim by the District Attorney had angered many deputies who felt that the charges should never have been dropped.

The grand jury will reconvene and take any more action against Anderson after the Roosevelt Dison trial, which is scheduled for early September.  According to the District Attorney's office, the trial of W. C. Clark should take place soon after the Dison trial.  No word has yet been given as to when Jimmy Salim's trial will take place.

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From The Natchitoches Times, July 17, 1979

Dison, Clark and Salim Will Be Arraigned July 27

Roosevelt Dison, W. C. Clark and Jimmy Salim, who have been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Easter Sunday shotgun killing of Charles Rollo, will be arraigned in the Tenth Judicial District on July 27.

According to the District Attorney's office, Dison, Clark and Salim will probably appear before Judge Peyton Cunningham to be arraigned.  An  arraignment is where the defendants will answer to the charges given in the indictment.

The trials of the three men are scheduled to be held in mid September.  Dison is scheduled for trial on Sep. 10, Clark, on Sep. 12, and Slim, on Sep. 14.  According to District Attorney Ronald Martin, the jury selection for the trials will probably begin on the first day the trial is scheduled for.

Attorney Mike Small of the Alexandria-based law firm of Gravel, Roy and Burnes will be representing Clark and Salim in their upcoming trials.  Charles Whitehead of the local law firm of Whitehead and McCoy, is the court appointed attorney for Dison.

In other matters related to the Rollo case, Martin and his Assistant District Attorney, Mike Henry, met with (undecipherable) Attorney for the (undecipherable) Keene, Monday, and turned over all the evidence that was heard by the Natchitoches Parish Grand Jury concerning possible violations of the Federal Criminal Statutes in loan transactions by R. C. "Pat" Anderson.

According to Henry, Martin and he met with Keene for over 30 minutes and turned over all the evidence that was ordered by the grand jury to be given to the U. S. Attorney.

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From The Natchitoches Times, August 2, 1979:

Gahagan Named Acting Judge in District Court

The Louisiana Supreme Court assigned Natchitoches City Court Judge, Marvin F. Gahagan, as judge of Division "A" of the Tenth Judicial District Court Friday.

Judge Gahagan was temporarily assigned as judge of Division "A" since Judge R. B. Williams, official judge of Division "A", has been absent, due to being hospitalized,

Judge Gahagan will act as Division "A" judge until Oct. 12, 1979, when it is hoped Judge Williams will be able to return to his normal duties.

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From The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, March 13, 1980:

Pat Anderson Seriously Hurt in Accident

R. C. (Pat) Anderson of Allen was seriously injured in an accident here Monday when he fell from a tractor on which he was sitting on the rear of a truck.  The accident occurred at a farm equipment dealership, where Anderson had reportedly returned a tractor from his farm near Powhatan.

He was listed in serious condition with head injuries in the intensive care unit of Schumpert Medical Center in Shreveport, where he was transferred following the accident.

Anderson was released on $125,000 bond in December after his indictment Nov. 19 on first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in the shotgun death of Charles Rollo, Jr., last Easter Sunday.

After his indictment, Anderson was hospitalized in Shreveport and in Natchitoches.  His physician, Dr. Ira Campbell, testified in court that Anderson's health would deteriorate if he went to jail.

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From The Natchitoches Times, March 20, 1980:

R.C. Anderson Dies Wednesday

R. C. (Pat) Anderson of Allen died at 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 19 (1980), in the Schumpert Medical Center in Shreveport of injuries suffered when he fell from a tractor Monday, March 10.

The accident occurred when he fell to the parking lot at a local farm equipment dealership from the tractor on which he had been sitting on the rear of a truck.

He was taken to Schumpert and placed in the intensive care unit and listed in serious condition with head injuries.

Anderson was indicted November 19 on first degree murder and conspiracy charges in the death of Charles Rollo, Jr.  He was released on $125,000 bond in December, after being hospitalized in the Natchitoches Parish Hospital and in Shreveport since the time of his indictment.  His physician had testified that his health would not permit his incarceration in jail.

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From The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, April 3, 1980:

In Rollo Trial:  Jury Finds Dison Guilty of Murder

The jury in the first-degree murder trial of Roosevelt Dison deliberated for less than one-and-one half hours here Wednesday afternoon before returning a verdict of guilty as charged.

Dison is on trial for the Easter Sunday shotgun slaying of Charles Rollo, Jr., here in 1979.

Tenth Judicial District Judge R. B. Williams presiding at the trial which now goes into a second phase to determine a penalty, told the jury that they, and they alone, will determine whether Dison is to receive the death penalty, or a sentence of life-imprisonment without probation.

The trial commenced Monday, March 31, and took the entire day to seat the jury.

Prosecutor Mike Henry, Assistant District Attorney, began the State's case Tuesday morning, calling some 12 witnesses to the stand in the first day of testimony.  Henry resumed Wednesday and rested the State's case by mid-morning.

The court-appointed attorney for Dison's defense, Charles Whitehead, called two witnesses in his client's behalf, then rested, taking less than thirty minutes to present the defense case.

In the course of the trial, the jury heard the testimony of nearly a dozen law officers involved with the case, including that of Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Sam James.

James testified that he had found $500 stuffed in a chair at the Red River Sheriff's office where Dison was first taken after his arrest on a Coushatta street.  Dison was later moved to a Lake Charles jail where he signed a statement admitting to the killing of Rollo.

Dison's statement indicated that he had hidden the money at the Red River Sheriff's office, and further suggested that the money was part of the payment he received for killing Rollo.

James testified that he was directed to the hidden money by Dison's statement.

In testimony involving the discovery of Rollo's body, Carolyn Rollo, the victim's wife, said she discovered her husband's body near the driveway of their residence around 9 p.m. on Easter Sunday, after returning from a visit with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. R. C. "Pat" Anderson of Allen.

R. C. Anderson was later indicted for first-degree murder and conspiracy in Rollo's death.  He died in March after falling from a tractor on his farm.  Anderson was free on $125,000 bond.

Whitehead questioned Mrs. Rollo on her husband's relationship with her grandfather.  "They just didn't get along," she said.

 Whitehead consistently questioned law officers about whether Dison had been read his constitutional rights before signing a statement.  Whitehead pointed out in his closing arguments that Dison had cooperated fully with law officers and strongly suggested that Dison has been told he would be "(undecipherable) his end of the bargain.  They didn't keep theirs," Whitehead told the jury.

Henry, in his closing statements, told the jury that "murder for hire is not permitted in Natchitoches Parish."  He pointed to the constant use of the word "hit" by Dison in his statement, and closed his argument for a first-degree murder verdict by saying, "When he (Dison) leveled that shotgun on Charles Rollo, he had the specific intent to kill him.  He had the intent to kill him, and he killed him."

The prosecution and the defense will call further witnesses in the hearing to determine Dison's sentence.  Testimony is expected to end and a sentence be passed by late today, Thursday.

W.C. Clark, another man indicted in the Rollo murder, is expected to go on trial immediately following Dison's trial.


The jury met for about 20 minutes late Wednesday afternoon and recommended life imprisonment for Dison.  Judge Williams set sentencing for April 25.


The Natchitoches Times, Thursday, May 1, 1980:

Dison's Sentence To be Appealed

Roosevelt Dison, convicted earlier this month of the first-degree murder of Charles Rollo, Jr., was formally sentenced to life-imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence here Friday (April 25) by Tenth Judical District Judge R. B. Williams.

Dison's attorney, Charles Whitehead, told the judge that he would appeal the sentence. 

Williams gave until June 25, 1980 for the appeals to be answered by the State Supreme Court.

The jury that found Dison guilty of the 1979 Easter Sunday shotgun slaying of Rollo had recommended the life imprisonment sentence which Williams pronounced.

Dison remains in the custody of the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Department pending the outcome of the appeal.