Transient charged with murder in Lexington doctor's death

Man who allegedly stalked Lexington dermatologist arrested in Ohio, charged with murder

jkegley@herald-leader.comSeptember 9, 2011 

A transient arrested late Wednesday on charges of harassing a Lexington dermatologist now is accused of killing her.

Lexington police obtained an arrest warrant Thursday afternoon, charging Marty Lee Roe with murder and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Dr. Martha Post, 55, who was slain outside her Huguenard Drive office last week.

Investigators in Lexington obtained the warrant about 17 hours after Roe was arrested by a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Ohio. Roe, 65, was being held at the Logan County, Ohio, jail on harassment charges.

An extradition hearing is planned but has not been scheduled.

Police had been looking for Roe since last week, when Post, a Lexington dermatologist, was shot multiple times Sept. 1 as she apparently was backing her vehicle out of a parking space. She was pronounced dead at 8:25 that night, according to authorities.

Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts initially said investigators had "persons of interest" in Post's slaying, but she had declined to answer questions about them. Police never publicly linked Roe to the slaying, but shortly after he was arrested in Ohio, Roberts said of Roe: "We would like to speak with him as we have spoken to many other people with connections to the victim."

In a matter of hours, Roe went from being a person police wanted to question to being the accused.

Roberts said at a news conference that Lexington police, working with the fugitive task force, interviewed Roe in Ohio.

After the interview, "the investigation reached the point where we felt there was probable cause for the warrants," she said.

Roberts said she could not elaborate on what led to the charges, including the tampering charge.

Post's husband, Dr. Robert Truitt, had said Roe had been stalking his wife.

Post had complained to police at least twice that Roe was making alarming phone calls to her, according to police documents made available to the Herald-Leader this week through a Kentucky Open Records Act request.

According to one of the documents, Post complained to police June 16, 2010, that Roe, a former employee, had called her cellphone numerous times. She told police he had developed an obsession with her. She said Roe said he wanted to be with her and wanted her to leave her husband.

On Dec. 15, Post and her husband told police that a known person had been calling them "with no legitimate purpose, causing annoyance and alarm," according to another police document. Truitt told a Herald-Leader reporter Wednesday that the person was Roe.

At one time, Roe had lived in an apartment in the basement of the office building where Truitt, who specializes in internal medicine, and Post practiced, according to Truitt. Roe had done renovation work on the office building at 2351 Huguenard Drive, and he was allowed to stay in the basement because he had no place to live, Truitt said.

Roe had been a guest in Truitt's and Post's home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Truitt said. Later, Roe began having problems, and he stopped living in the basement apartment, Truitt said last week.

Truitt has said that Roe had traveled between Lexington and Dayton, Ohio. And there were reports that police were put on alert to look for Roe in Kentucky and Ohio. (Earlier documents released by Lexington police had spelled Roe's name Rowe.)

Police in Montgomery County, Ohio, said Wednesday that they received a bulletin at 7:14 a.m. Friday to be on the lookout for Roe in reference to Post's slaying.

Josh Hillard of the U.S. Marshals Service said a fugitive task force tracked Roe to Lakeview, which is near Indian Lake State Park at the edge of a large reservoir about 60 miles northeast of Dayton.

Roe was known to frequent the Indian Lake area. Hillard said Lexington police provided a description of the van Roe was known to use. Marshals spoke with witnesses who had seen Roe in Lakeview, which is about 200 miles north of Lexington. Officials later spotted the van.

"That's how we confirmed he was in the area," Hillard said.

They followed the van to Brothers Bar & Grill, where Roe was arrested about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Steve Lafferty, owner of the sports bar, said Roe came in the night before, and had some whiskey and a few beers. It was the first time workers there had ever seen him.

"He never stood out, other than he was a new face," Lafferty said.

Lafferty said there was little warning before police officers came in with guns drawn and ordered Roe to the ground.

He said the arrest shocked the workers and has drawn unwanted attention to the bar.

"That's a black eye for our business, having a murder suspect arrested in your establishment," Lafferty said. "We're not that kind of place where you would normally see something like that."

Lafferty said that Roe's van was towed Thursday afternoon and that officials spent more than an hour searching Roe's camper, which was parked near a flea market just up the street from the bar.

While Roe was arrested on the outstanding warrant, "we were aware he was wanted for questioning related to a homicide that had occurred in Kentucky," Hillard said.

Sgt. Ryan Furlong of the Logan County sheriff's office said there should be an extradition hearing in Logan County court before Roe can be returned to Kentucky. A court hearing had not been set Thursday afternoon.

The Fayette County sheriff's office said it had been in contact with the Logan County sheriff's office. The Fayette County sheriff's office will handle the extradition proceedings and Roe's return to Kentucky.

Outside their home on Broadhead Place on Thursday afternoon, Post's husband and one of the couple's daughters thanked police for their hard work and the community for its support.

"It has been a heartbreaking week for our family since the loss of my mom," said the daughter, Erin Truitt. "Knowing the killer was still at large added another layer to our already unbearable grief."

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