We've written about plenty of accused cancer fakers over the years, includingAnn Crall
and, earlier today,Jennifer Stover
. But while the motives in these cases appear to revolve around money, it's hard to know what Mark Royer intended when he informed relatives about a bogus diagnosis shortly before murdering his ex-wife, Donna.
According to 7News, the Royers were married for fifteen years and shared two daughters, currently ages fourteen and twelve. But they divorced in 2010, the same year Donna filed for a protective order as a result of numerous threats by Mark. Among them: an e-mail in which he cited Proverbs 6 and 7, a biblical passage pertaining to adultery, by way of threatening Donna's boyfriend. Here's a section of Proverbs 6:
For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man's wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.
The order also claimed that Mark had threatened to kill Donna or himself, and made it clear he possessed a gun.
Then, on Christmas day, Mark reportedly sent an e-mail to his siblings, announcing that he had terminal cancer.
Two days later, Royer showed up at a McDonald's in Parker. Donna had been in the restaurant with their daughters, but she subsequently stepped outside, where Mark shot her three times in the chest. She was eight months pregnant at the time.
Mark fled the scene, after which he wrote his own final chapter. He killed himself in the Hidden Mesa Open Space area, not far from Ponderosa High School.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
There wasn't much suspense about Mark's cause of death. However, the Douglas County coroner has now confirmed that he wasn't suffering from cancer. The only thing unexpected in his system were barbiturates, as well as a trace of an anti-depressant.
A Facebook tribute page has been set up to honor Donna. Its title is simple: R.I.P. Donna Royer.
Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "47 Denver homicides in 2011: See where they happened."