Roach sentenced in Aleah Beckerle case

Roach sentenced in Aleah Beckerle case
Aleah D. Beckerle (Source: Evansville Police Department)
Aleah D. Beckerle (Source: Evansville Police Department)

VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - Terrence Roach has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Roach was in court Wednesday morning to receive the sentence.

"Obviously, it's not the sentence we were looking for," says Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann.

A jury found him not guilty of the murder of Aleah Beckerle in late May, but guilty on one count of criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of abuse of a corpse.

He was also found not guilty on one count of burglary with serious bodily injury and one count of kidnapping with a serious bodily injury.

Two years of the 17-year sentence were for the abuse of a corpse charge and 15 years for the confinement charge. Roach will serve them consecutively.

Considering time already served and the way days are counted, Roach will actually be serving closer to 10 years in prison.

Roach was facing up to 18 and a half years.

Before the judge read his sentence, he gave Roach the opportunity to talk. Roach declined, as he did during the trial.

Roach's attorney Glenn Grampp says he hopes someday everyone will know what really happened to Aleah, but he does not think the truth has come out yet. Grampp says he wasn't surprised by the sentence.

"Aleah Beckerle was a very fragile person. The jury spoke with their verdict. He was found guilty of causing injury to her before her death and abusing her corpse after her death. To think that the judge was going to give him a lot of sympathy; I think would certainly be a stretch," says Grampp.

Hermann says the sentence was nearly maxed out because the judge found several aggravators in the case.

"The harm suffered by the victim was substantially more than elements of the crime required, his history of criminal delinquent activity, and the also the fact that the victim was a person of disabilities, and that the victim was physically or mentally infirm," says Hermann.

Aleah's mother, grandmother, and great-aunt read statements to the judge. Grandmother Lydia LaRue said, "I never want him on the streets again. I'm fearful of the day he will be released."

"He said in his statement that his motivation for doing this was to get back at the mother for reporting his father and having him incarcerated, so I think the family is concerned. I think certainly as the court indicated, he has a history of criminal behavior. There is certainly a concern in that regard," says Hermann.

Throughout the entire process, Roach has declined to comment both in and outside of the courtroom. He responding to the judge in hushed mumbles.

"He shows almost no emotions of any kind. He almost has a flat affect. I think that speaks to his character frankly. The guy, I don't think it's a lack of remorse. He just doesn't have that mental capacity to show that kind of emotion," says Grampp.

But filled with emotion, great-aunt Laura Jackson said, "While we accept the verdict in Mr. Roach's trial as final, we will never accept it as just. We were extremely angered, shocked, and saddened at this egregious miscarriage of justice."

"I don't agree with it. I don't have to agree with it, but I do have to respect it, and I do have to accept it," says Hermann.

In the words of her mother Cara, "Aleah was and still is perfection. What Terrence Roach did to her did not and will never change this. She was an angel on earth and is now one in heaven."

He has 30 days to file an appeal.

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