George Roloff was arrested nearly three years ago. So why has it taken so long for a jury to convict him of 37 counts in a bizarre crime spree that only ended after an hours-long SWAT-team standoff? Because there were questions about his competency to stand trial owing to reported "fears of witchcraft, spells, demonic actions and other obviously paranormal things."
Continue for the details, including photos from the scene and the very strange arrest report.
Just past noon on July 10, 2011, according to the affidavit, 911 dispatch in Mesa County, on Colorado's Western Slope, received a report about a man outside a Bradley Sinclair gas station in the community of Clifton. The suspect, later identified as Roloff, was said to be holding a shotgun on a woman at one of the pumps.
Randy Abeyta, an acquaintance of Roloff's, soon filled in the cops about what was going on. He said Roloff had shown up at his door a short time earlier and said he needed a ride into town immediately -- and given the man's frazzled appearance (he was allegedly covered in sweat), Abeyta quickly agreed.
As they climbed into his car, a 1980 Cadillac, Abeyta noticed that Roloff's backpack contained a shotgun, and he gently suggested that he stow it in the trunk. But as the report notes, Roloff "was not interested in moving it" -- and he proved it by proceeding to load the weapon, point the barrel at Abeyta's side and order him to get more gas for the Caddy.
At the Sinclair station, Roloff dismounted and allegedly demanded car keys from three separate men, menacing them with his shotgun to underscore his urgency, before turning his attention to Allison Cripe, who had driven to the station along with her mother, age 98. She told investigators she'd just finished filling her tank when Roloff approached her and said, "Give me your keys. They are not worth your life."
Cripe turned down this request, since her mom was in the car. But the elderly woman was no pushover. She fought with Roloff when he reached into the passenger compartment. Between her resistance and his inability to find the keys, which Cripe had already spirited away, Roloff eventually grew frustrated and walked off.
His next destination was 614 Jackson, Unit B, which was occupied by Sara Ann Hill and her three roommates. She heard a knock at the door, and when she answered it, she found Roloff rocking his shotgun. The report notes that he ordered the men with Hill to empty their pockets, then ordered one of them to fork over -- you guessed it -- the keys to his vehicle, promising to "kill this motherfucker to prove I'm serious" if they weren't provided.
Later, however, he displayed at least a modicum of understanding. "Sorry, it's been one of those days," he's quoted as saying.
Next, the report goes on, Roloff ordered the foursome out of the house -- but before he could drive away in one of their rides, he spotted a nearby Colorado State Trooper cruiser, yelled something about "being busted," and ran back into the house, giving Hill and her roomies the opportunity to escape.
Not long thereafter, cops heard multiple shots fired in quick succession sound within Hill's place, where Roloff had holed up, prompting what the report describes as "several hours of crisis negotiation" involving a fully outfitted SWAT team.
When talk didn't do the trick, the SWAT officers used more persuasive measures: namely gas, followed by a Taser blast.
After being taken into custody, Roloff reportedly told investigators about "how law enforcement had been watching him for over two weeks, and we were all in it together." He added that "all lawyers," plus family members and ex-girlfriends, were also conspiring to "take me out."
He was tired, too, and understandably so: When he was asked when he'd last slept, Roloff responded that he'd gotten a couple hours of shut-eye about five days before.
When an officer asked if he was on any medication, Roloff replied that he had a prescription, but he'd run out three weeks earlier.
These last exchanges certainly raise the prospect of mental illness, and Roloff's comments to attorneys in 2012 about witchcraft, demons and the like did nothing to dispel the possibility. In addition, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that on three occasions after his arrest, he refused to leave his cell to attend court hearings.
The Sentinel points out that Roloff was analyzed twice by the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo to determine if he was competent to stand trial. Apparently, doctors eventually signed off, since the proceedings got underway this month.
After more than a week, a jury found Roloff guilty on 37 counts, including attempted aggravated robbery, first-degree assault on a police officer and a lot more. And the accusations don't stop there. Because he had five felony convictions before the 2011 melee, he may also be deemed a habitual criminal. If so, his sentence could be multiplied into a total in the hundreds of years, the Sentinel estimates.
Look below to see a larger version of Roloff's booking photo, followed by the arrest affidavit.
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More from our Schmuck of the Week archive circa November 2013: "Robert Lee Larsen's drunken, face-smashing crime spree lands schmucky pal in jail, too."