Evansville Police react to Terrence Roach verdict

Evansville Police react to Terrence Roach verdict
Terrence Roach, 24. (Vanderburgh Co. Sheriff's Office)
Aleah D. Beckerle (Source: Evansville Police Department)
Aleah D. Beckerle (Source: Evansville Police Department)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Evansville Police reacted to the Terrence Roach verdict Thursday afternoon.

A jury found Roach not guilty of murder in the death of 19-year-old Aleah Beckerle just before 1:00 a.m. Thursday.

Deliberations lasted for 11 hours.

Roach was found guilty on one count of criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of abuse of a corpse.

"We've done all of the things that we've needed to do along the way to not only develop the evidence that was presented at trial which included confessions. It included DNA evidence. It included testimony from the detectives who interviewed countless people. We developed all that and along the way we also eliminated other people because there was no evidence that connected them to the case," says Sgt. Cullum.

Sgt. Jason Cullum says the department spent long hours on this case, and unless they receive new information, there is nothing left for them to investigate.

"We weren't able to get the conviction that we hoped to get justice for Aleah," said Sgt. Cullum.

Police say Aleah has always been at the forefront of their investigation. They say their employees did their best. They just did not get the result they wanted.

Sgt. Cullum says they would not have gone forward with this prosecution if they did not believe Roach killed Aleah. They were confident.

Breaking it down: They had a confession. They had a body. They had DNA evidence with 1-in-8-trillion odds that linked Roach to where Aleah's body was found.

Police say everyone involved was so invested. They had one shot and put everything into this case.

"The facts that we have uncovered that we presented in trial are the facts of this case. There were no facts that were left out. This isn't a deal where we learned of Terrence Roach the day after Aleah went missing and we got so focused on him that we ignored everything else that came along. As I mentioned before his name didn't come up until Aleah was found," says Sgt. Cullum.

From police to prosecution to everyone in the community that helped search for Aleah, Sgt. Cullum says you just can not put a dollar amount on the cost of this investigation.

"All of the investigators that were involved with this, all of the folks from the prosecutor's office that were involved with this took this home with them, and they will for the rest of their career. This is one of the biggest cases we've seen in Evansville in decades. You don't get involved in an investigation like this and not get fully invested," says Sgt. Cullum.

We've reached out to several officials, friends, and other people who knew Aleah.

We heard from Kelly Schneider, President and CEO of Easterseals Rehabilitation Center, who sent us this statement:

"Our hearts go out to all the people who loved and cared for Aleah Beckerle, and to the entire community that has been touched by such a tragic loss. Aleah will never be forgotten. It is our hope that in her memory, everyone who lives in our community will do their part to help ensure the health, happiness, safety and well-being of our friends and neighbors with disabilities."

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