POMEROY, Ohio — The prosecutor from Meigs County, Ohio said discussions were ongoing Wednesday about how Ernest Roach will be prosecuted in the death of Kanawha County teenager Ericka Brown.
Roach, 26, of Racine, Ohio, is in custody on federal and state charges. He allegedly traveled across state lines to have sex with the 16-year-old Brown and then allegedly murdered her near Portland, Ohio.
Meigs County prosecutor Colleen Williams told MetroNews the chain of prosecution has not been finalized, though conversations with the assistant U.S. attorney have been cooperative.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Tuesday nothing trumps the murder charge against Roach and his office is committed to pursuing the case in the jurisdiction “with the most serious charges, the best evidence and ultimately the greatest likelihood of conviction and the most appropriate sentence.”
Police said Roach confessed to the crime, and Williams said a preliminary autopsy report has been completed, but authorities still aren’t ready to release a cause of death or motive. By requesting help from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in the case, Williams said she would continue to be lead prosecutor.
Ohio does have the death penalty but whether Roach would face that punishment is a decision to be made in the months to come, Williams said.
Brown’s body was found last Saturday along the Ohio River wrapped in a plastic tarp tied to a cement block. Court documents show the two first met through Craigslist after Brown posted a personal ad looking for relationships with men.
Roach is being held without bail in the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston. He is scheduled to appear in U.S. Magistrate Court for a preliminary and detention hearing Thursday.