SEAN D. ROBERSON, d/o/b 7-27-1988, was found guilty Friday, October 2, 2015, by a Greene County jury of voluntary manslaughter, assault in the first degree, armed criminal action, and burglary in the first degree. The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated for over ten (10) hours before arriving at its unanimous verdict. The Taney County Prosecutor’s Office was seeking a conviction against Roberson for the crime of murder in the first degree, rather than voluntary manslaughter – the jury found Roberson guilty as charged of the remaining three (3) felonies.
The evidence presented was that Roberson had threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend on March 15, 2013, and then was discovered hiding in that man’s apartment with a knife on March 29, 2013. The jury heard that Roberson chased the man from the apartment, threw the knife at the man, then led police on a pursuit that lasted about four (4) hours – until Roberson was finally arrested in Lake Taneycomo. It was only after Roberson’s intended victim re-entered his apartment that his brother was discovered deceased, fully clothed in a bathtub filled with water. A pathologist testified that the manner of death was homicide, and the deceased had most-likely been manually strangled – although drowning could not be ruled-out as a possible cause of death. Investigators later searched Roberson’s cell phone and discovered texts he had sent to a family member indicating that he had “tried to kill” the intended victim and “did his brother”, and another text that explained he “wanted revenge.”
Roberson testified in his own defense that he had gone to the apartment to make amends with the man who was dating his ex-girlfriend, and that the man’s brother initiated a fight with him. Roberson tried to explain that he had accidentally strangled the deceased while trying to restrain him in the fight. After trying to resuscitate the deceased, Roberson testified that he panicked and hid within the apartment. Roberson said that his pursuit of the man with the knife was a misunderstanding, and that he did not throw the knife, but, rather, dropped it down the stairs in the direction of the intended victim. Rather than call 9-1-1, Roberson admitted that he fled the crime scene and sent the incriminating texts while fleeing from police. In explaining the texts, Roberson said that he did not mean “tried to kill” or “wanted revenge” in the way most people do.
Although the crimes were committed in Branson, the case was tried in Greene County due to a change of venue motion filed by the defendant. Greene County Division One Circuit Court Judge Michael Cordonnier scheduled sentencing for December 11, 2015, at 8:30 a.m.