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Father remembers victim as 'easygoing'

By Kathy Jefcoats

Tommy Roll was no angel but he didn't deserve to die, left on the side of the road 200 yards from his house and within view of his mother's kitchen window.

Roll's father, Duane Roll, said Monday that his son was the type of guy who would do what he could to help others.

"He was easygoing," said Duane Roll. "He'd do anything for anybody. He was happy-go-lucky even though he was in trouble most of his life. He'd do what he could for anyone."

Roll was shot in the head Aug. 10, 2003, and left on the side of the road on Coffee Lane in Ellenwood. Cathy Michelle Whitfield, 30, said in court Monday that she shot Roll because she believed he molested her sons, then 10 and 7. Duane Roll said she was mistaken.

"He had a previous charge of child molestation," acknowledged Duane Roll, "But it didn't involve actually touching kids. I don't think he'd hurt a child."

Despite her suspicions, Whitfield had other options, said Duane Roll.

"I have no sympathy for her," he said. "All she had to do was go to the law and let them deal with it. It's not worth killing someone and going to jail yourself."

Tommy Roll, 36, left behind four kids of his own. His parents, Duane and Virginia, adopted his sons who are 15 and 14, and another family adopted the other two.

Virginia Roll said Monday that the boys often sleep with a nightlight and are fearful of the same thing happening to their surviving uncle, Tommy's brother.

"They tell him that some woman is going to do the same thing to him," she said.

Duane read a victims' impact statement on behalf of the family. He said the last year has "been rough."

"My mother-in-law, Tommy's grandmother, is 85 and this has taken a toll on her," he said. "He was one of her favorites."

The spot where Roll was found dead is 200 yards from the family home and in view of Virginia's kitchen window.

"This has been hard on her," said Duane. "She has to take sleeping pills now because she can't sleep at night."

Whitfield was sentenced Monday to 20 years, to serve 15 in prison. Roll said the outcome suits the family.

"We're satisfied with her sentence, all things considered," he said.