Broken hearts spilled out of a Vanderburgh County courtroom around 1 a.m. Thursday.
Aleah Beckerle’s case got some closure then, but for her family, emotions of the trial were overwhelming after the verdict was read.
Terrence Roach was acquitted of killing Aleah Beckerle after a three-day trial and 11 hours of jury deliberation.
It’s a closing chapter to the case the family could have never written.
Long before that time, as hard as it was, Aleah’s grandma, Lydia LaRue, could finally feel the weight lifting. She was there at the trial from the very beginning and heard every piece of testimony.
She waited hours for the jury to decide and seemed confident the outcome she wanted was coming.
“There’s so many things I have not been doing that I should be doing,” LaRue said Thursday afternoon. “This is going to be a freedom after this is over.”
But even before that point, emotions of this case caught an audience across the Tri-State. Prosecutor Nick Hermann leaned heavily on several recordings of Roach confessing to the crime, telling investigators how he opened the window to take Aleah.
“(Detective) Jeff Hands testified that he went over and recreated that, he was able to stand on the ground, able to get the window open, reach in and touch the bed where she was laying,” Hermann said Tuesday after the trial adjourned for the day.
But Roach’s attorney Glenn Grampp focused on the lack of physical evidence at the Beckerle home, and little proof that put Roach at Aleah’s bedroom window on that night in July.
“It’s bothersome to me, when you have a confession, that when you compare it to the facts that are known, don’t add up,” said Grampp Tuesday.
After a grueling trial and “not guilty” on three murder counts, the gravity of what just happened was too much to bear for most hardened police detectives and Roach’s family who watched from outside the courthouse.
Roach was convicted on two felony charges, so he’s likely to face some time in a cell but that’s up to Judge Robert Pigman to decide at sentencing next month.
The Beckerle family was inconsolable after the jury and judge left the court. They were escorted out a side door before 2 a.m.
It’s been almost two years since she disappeared, and Aleah’s grandma was convinced this would be the end. As it turns out, for the Beckerle’s, it’s only the start of a new nightmare.
(This story was originally published May 24, 2018)