Max Roybal has been acquitted twice in two years of first-degree murder — in 2002 in the death of his fiancee and Thursday in the death of his wife, The Leaf-Chronicle reports.
Roybal, 46, had been in jail since 2001 in connection with the deaths of his wife, Army Sgt. Laura Cecere, and his fiancee, Karen Anderson. In both cases, the women are missing and their bodies have never been found.
In a four-day jury trial, Circuit Judge John Gasaway determined there wasn’t enough evidence in the Cecere case to convict Roybal.
”No rational trier of fact could find the essential elements of the crime of first-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt,” Gasaway said.
Cecere’s family was shocked. She was an instructor at Fort Campbell’s Sabalauski Assault School when she disappeared in 1996.
”All I can say is, I think there is something wrong with the system here,” said Sandra Cecere, the victim’s mother. ”There’s no reason for this.
Roybal married Cecere in September 1994, two months before Anderson’s death. Anderson had been engaged to Roybal.
Laura Cecere was last seen alive at an ATM machine in a North Clarksville Wal-Mart on Dec. 6, 1996. Her body was never recovered, although her jawbone was sent to WKAG-TV in Hopkinsville, Ky., along with an anonymous letter saying the cause of death was an accident.
State prosecutors told the court that Roybal was behind Laura Cecere’s disappearance, introducing dental records, insurance records and ATM surveillance pictures.
The state focused on anonymous letters sent to WKAG and three area police departments, the jawbone and Cecere’s dental records. Prosecutors, though, hit a brick wall when Gasaway ruled against the introduction of some records because they could not be authenticated.