The Case of Robert Roy
On July 31, 2013. Robert E. Roy, 49, of Hedgesville, WV, appeared before the Loudoun County Circuit Court for sentencing, facing one count of second degree murder. The Honorable Judge James Howe Brown Jr. sentenced Roy to 27 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections with an additional 13 years of suspended time.
On May 21, 2001, Roy and a co-defendant broke into and entered a Purcellville home with the intent to burglarize. Patrick Hornbaker was home at the time, shot and killed by Roy and his accomplice, Hornbaker died from a head wound shortly thereafter.
Roy’s fingerprints and trace amounts of his blood were found in Hornbaker’s home. Samples were compared to samples taken from a 2001 breaking and entering in Frederick County, Virginia and found to be a positive match. But the identity of Roy was unknown at the time.
While Maryland authorities did become aware of Roy’s identity in 2002 through DNA, Maryland law prevented disclosing DNA evidence to Virginia. Use of DNA evidence was restricted to certain types of cases.
Roy’s prior criminal history dates back to 1984, spans four states, and includes charges of vandalism, possession with intent to manufacture controlled substances, bad checks, contractor fraud, grand larceny, burglary, aggravated robbery, and receiving stolen property.
The case went cold until 2006 when a new investigator was assigned to the case. By the summer of 2007, additional evidence had been discovered enabling Virginia authorities to link Roy to the crime.
Roy was arrested on Nov. 12, 2008. In addition to murder, charges included robbery, armed burglary and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Roy was incarcerated in West Virginia at the time of his arrest.
The Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office spent years working toward Rob Roy’s extradition and prosecution in Virginia.
In February 2011 Roy finally plead guilty to second-degree murder.
In September 2011, the man believed to be Roy’s accomplice was also charged with the murder of Patrick Hornbaker.
However, he was released in September 2012 due to what prosecution claimed was a continuing lack of cooperation and growing inconsistencies in statements from Roy in identifying his accomplice.
Roy, 51, has been incarcerated since 2008. His anticipated release date is Jan. 24, 2033.