It took 11 hours to decide his fate, but just 2 hours for Terrence Roach to tell his story.
He’s the man police believe kidnapped and killed Aleah Beckerle in July of 2016, and he’s the man a jury acquitted of murder last month.
An interview and phone call were key evidence for the prosecution, and especially important to the jury. Not only were these recordings played during trial, the jury watched them again during deliberation.
Now we hear Roach in his own words describe what he allegedly did to take Aleah. This was what the jury heard during the three-day trial. Police call this his confession.
Evansville Police Detective Brent Melton sat across from Roach in a cramped EPD interview room as the two ate McDonald’s. Detective Jeff Hands was also in the room. He asked Roach to do his best to explain what happened.
“Just take a deep breath and the best you can remember how this went,” Hands said. Police say this is when Roach got it all off his chest.
“Pretty sure I just reached in and grabbed her,” Roach said.
“So, you pulled her through the window?” Melton asked.
Roach responded, “Yeah.” He told Melton and Hands he was high on K2 the day he decided to take Aleah. Roach said it “just popped in my head to do what I did.”
Roach explained his plan was to get pay-back on Aleah’s mom, Cara Beckerle. He believed Cara got his dad, Demarco Roach, in trouble with police about a month earlier during a shots-fired run at the Beckerle home.
Melton asked several times during the two-hour interview if Roach had help or if anyone else knew what he was doing. “We’re not missing anything right? You acted alone? Just had the idea to take her down to Bedford?” Roach mumbled no.
Roach told investigators he opened Aleah’s bedroom window and used a toy chest to pull her outside.
“It helped me slide her over, so I could pull her out the window,” Roach said. The moment was recreated by Hands in evidence photos which prosecutors say proves Roach’s story was believable.
After his interview with detectives, Roach was sent to the Vanderburgh County jail. In a call to his mom, Roach says he duct taped Aleah’s mouth as she laid in an attic on South Bedford Avenue, “because I didn’t want her yelling, so I could get more K2,” Roach told his mom.
Investigators believe Aleah suffocated alone in that attic.
Roach’s mom lived next door to the abandoned house where Aleah’s body was found. She asked Roach if they were home when he claims he took Aleah inside. “I don’t know, I was so damn high,” he replied.
Roach was convicted of criminal confinement and abuse of a corpse. He was found not guilty on three counts of murder.
(This story was originally published June 1, 2018)