After 11 hours of deliberation, a jury found an Indiana man not guilty of the 2016 kidnapping and murder of disabled teen Aleah Beckerle.
While the jury acquitted him of murder, kidnapping, and burglary charges, the Courier & Press reported that Terrence Roach, 25, was found guilty Wednesday of criminal confinement and abuse of a corpse. Roach was charged two days after badly decomposed remains found in an abandoned home were identified as Beckerle, 19.
“What the f**k happened?” the victim’s mother, Carla Beckerle, reportedly said as she broke down following the 1 a.m. verdict.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Beckerle’s mother reported her missing on July 17, 2016. Police later noted that her wheelchair and anti-seizure medication were left behind and there were no signs of forced entry into the Evansville home.
Fast forward eight months to March 28, 2017, and local police announced that a “badly decomposed” body was discovered in an abandoned home on South Bedford Ave. Two days later, the body was confirmed as Beckerle.
Police had Roach in custody within days of the body’s identification and claimed he admitted to abducting Beckerle and leaving her in the dilapidated, filthy home where her remains would be found months later. WEHT reported that the arrest came months after Beckerle’s cousin and two of the cousin’s acquaintances were jailed for beating a man until he made a false confession.
At the time, Roach—who is the half-brother of one of Beckerle’s sisters—allegedly told officers that the idea of abducting the non-verbal teen “popped into his head” while smoking K2. He also allegedly admitted to having sex with her corpse, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
However, according to Courier & Press, the court heard a recorded phone call between Roach and his mother where he claimed he abducted Beckerle to get back at Beckerle’s mother for getting his father arrested following a domestic incident.
“I didn’t plan on killing her…she died on her own,” he said in the recorded call.
It’s worth noting that one charge Roach was convicted of—abuse of a corpse—was in relation to him having sex with Beckerle’s body. While an official cause of death was never determined, a pathologist testified that the victim likely died of suffocation, the local newspaper reported.
Roach didn’t take the stand during the high-profile trial that rocked the tight-knit Indiana town. While he was acquitted of three of the most serious charges, he faces up to 16 years in prison when he’s sentenced on July 27.
“Aleah’s mother and loved ones are shocked, stunned and angry,” Beckerle’s great-aunt, Laura Jackson, said in a statement issued to the Courier & Press.
“There is no justice for Aleah Beckerle.”
What are the next steps? Police said they won’t be searching for a suspect in Beckerle’s murder as they believe the man who did it was acquitted.
“There is nothing else for us to investigate,” Evansville police spokesman Jason Cullum said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Cullum also noted that physical evidence hasn’t produced any new leads. While the case is by no means closed, their investigation remains at a standstill until then.
He said, “We would not have gone forward with this prosecution if we did not feel we had the person who was responsible for it.”
[Featured Image: Terrence Roach/Vanderburgh County Jail; Aleah Beckerle/Evansville Police Department]