Michael Roseboro

I am currently reading a book by M. William Phelps called "Love Her to Death" which is the story about Michael Roseboro.  Sadly cases of a spouse killing another seems mundane in our current society if you are interested in true crime such as myself, and hopefully my readers.  It seems that whenever someone dies with questionable circumstances the surviving (even if injured) spouse is always under suspicion.  There is currently a case in which two men are awaiting trial for the murder of a minister's woman in Indianapolis Indiana that I will be the first to say I suspected the husband right away.  The murder occurred early in the morning and the husband was at the gym.  I am going to be honest and say that since the entire story of the two men awaiting trial has not officially been released, and despite it appearing the husband was not involved, I am not completely convinced he was not at this point.  I know that is wrong and yes, sad too, but it just seems that these types of crimes are way too common now days and it is almost always the spouse, in some way.  I will be the first to admit I was incorrect if in fact the husband was not involved in the above mentioned case.  However, when it comes to the Michael Roseboro case, it does seem that first (or a quick second) impressions were correct.

On the night of July 22, 2008 in the town of Reinholds, Pennsylvania a 911 call was made.  Local funeral director, Michael Roseboro made the call close to 11:30 pm to report that he found his wife, Jan, floating in the family pool.  He stated that he had removed her and did all the things the 911 operator asked of him, or at least it made it sound as if he did those things, while police and EMT's were dispatched.  When the ambulance arrived Jan was barely clinging to life. They got her into the ambulance and it was there that they discovered an apparently head wound, yet there had been no blood near the pool area at the home.  It had rained off and on throughout this time but not enough to have erased any evidence of blood.  Even still, without evaluating the head wound, and relying on the quick story Michael gave to 911, EMT's and law enforcement it was easy and quick to assume that Jan had somehow fallen and slipped into the pool and likely hit her head on the way down.  

The police were also noticing a few oddities.  First, by the time they arrived there were a massive amount of people already at the Roseboro home and from their first impression, Michael seemed to be making his rounds like a greeter. Ok, maybe that came from his career as the owner of a funeral home.  He made living in comforting people in stressful situations and we all know that everyone deals with traumatic situations differently.  However, even more odd, as the ambulance left carrying Jan to the local hospital Michael did not seem to be in any sort of hurry to follow.  Sure, he had four children, three of which who were young and still inside the house sleeping through all the chaos outside, but surely there was someone in that crowd, including his oldest son, Sam, who was nineteen, who could hold down the fort and the children while he went to his wife's side.  It was all just as well in the beginning though because investigators needed to get a statement from him anyway so they could determine what happened and hopefully close the case as an accidental fall and/or drowning fairly quickly.  They were suspicious a bit but they were sure it would be ruled an accident.... I mean they did not have murders in Reinholds.  In fact, it was later speculated when Jan Roseboro's death was classified as a homicide that it was the first ever in that town. So the next obvious step for investigators was to get to Michael Roseboro and get that quick interview and see what he stated had happened.  However, getting to him was quite a challenge considering all of the people already on the scene and investigators could feel rather quickly that they were not exactly welcome.  

Michael Roseboro came from a wealthy, well respected family in the area.  The funeral home in which was now being ran by Michael himself was a family business that had stretched three generations.  It was later said that Michael's annual income was about $400,000.  It seems his personality brought in the business at the end of life and the funeral home was very popular and profitable.  One family member would tell writer, Phelps, that most of the family also had the aura that comes with having money, especially Michael.  It was said by friends and family that unlike so many in the Roseboro family, Jan did not flaunt her money and status and was often seen in very casual clothing. This information would later be crucial to the investigation. But, as I tend to do sometimes, I have gotten a little ahead of myself.  

Once the investigators were able to reach Michael to interview him, they learned his version of the events of the night.  According to Michael, he and Jan at been out by the pool looking at the sky.  About 10 pm Michael decided he was tired and was going to bed but Jan wanted to remain outside so the tiki torches around the pool remained lit and he went inside.  He claimed that just around 11:00 he looked outside and saw the torches were still lit and he went outside. This is when he found Jan face down, floating in the pool.  The investigators did find his demeanor odd and noticed that not only did he not seem concerned with Jan's condition but never asked if there was any news from the hospital.  Some would speculate that his demeanor was a result of his career and dealing with death on a regular basis. Investigators were not so sure so considering the atmosphere (from those at the scene), the weather and their own what I call "icky" feeling they asked that Michael come to the police station for further questioning.  

Investigators learned that within an hour of arriving at the hospital Jan had been declared dead.  They also knew there was a strange wound on the back of her head that they would have to wait until autopsy in order to get more information.  After interviewing Michael at the police station and hearing his story again they asked if they could search his home, inside and out basically. He still had not asked about Jan's condition. Michael agreed and considering they did not have a warrant or anything more than their own feelings at that point that something was wrong so they knew they had to tread lightly, not just with Michael but all the people still at the home to ensure they were not asked to leave sooner than they would like. While at the station they also noticed that Michael had 3 scratches on his face.  They asked him where they came from and he claimed that one of the kids had scratched him in the pool So, investigators took a team of people back to the Roseboro home.  They discovered little to nothing in their search, which that in and of itself seemed unusual.  Everything appeared to normal and almost abnormally clean.  There were a few tiny specks of blood near a plant near the pool but nothing else.  Between what appears to being cleaned, and the rain on top of that, it seems if there was a crime committed it would be harder to prove.  

Next investigators starting getting some tips.  Some came from neighbors, some came from family members (although most family members of both Michael and Jan were fairly tight lipped).  Neighbors, and even strangers who happened to be in the area the night Jan died, reported that despite Michael's claim that he woke up and saw the tiki torches around the pool still lit, that the pool area of the Roseboro home was pitch dark that night.  They reported they knew this because it was rather unusual.  Along with the tiki torches there was also a flood light in the area that was on every night.  On many nights there was a lot of activity from the family and their friends in the pool area, but they claimed on the night of July 22nd there was nothing.  One neighbor did report that around 10:30 that evening she heard what sounded like a female scream and it sounded as if it came from the direction of the Roseboro home but when she looked outside she could not see anything.  But the biggest tip that came in was that Michael not had cheated on Jan many times throughout their marriage but that his current mistress was a woman by the name of Angela Funk.

Investigators went to Angela Funk's door.  She was a married mother of two that lived just around the corner from the Roseboro Funeral Home.  She had met Michael several years prior at a party and had seen him around town but it was not until they began running into each other every morning on the way to work back in May of 2008 that things changed.  At the time of her first encounter with authorities Angela was preparing to leave on vacation with her husband and children for a few days and explained her husband had no idea of her affair and all but asked for a few days.  The authorities decided they would give her a day or two, but they were not going to give her all of her vacation before interviewing her and later went to where she was vacationing.  Angela would seem to cooperate with the authorities throughout the investigation.  In the end it was believed that although Angela was not involved in any way in Jan Roseboro's murder she knew more about certain things than she shared with police.  In some areas she seemed to be clear as day as to what was said or done, while other times she seemed as vague as could be.  One thing that the investigators knew that Angela did not was that she was far from Michael's first mistress as she believed and had been told.  Angela had produced copies of hundreds of emails, but it also was not every email sent. She and Michael had mainly used their work computers and while they both deleted them all Angela had printed off many of them prior, and forensic technicians were not able to recover many more from either computer.  One can only speculate that Angela likely printed off all the emails and provided investigators with only those she wanted, but again that is simply speculation.  Angela however, was none to happy to learn that Michael was all but a serial cheater when he had insisted that until Angela came along he had been a faithful husband to Jan. She also did not know, nor was she happy about the fact that during the time of her death and for a period of time prior, Michael had been planning to renew his vows with Jan on vacation at the beach as a surprise.  He had all of the arrangements made and many family and friends knew of the plans.

Angela would not only tell investigators but provide email proof that she and Michael had discussed marriage themselves.  When asked if they had a time frame or a plan on how to tell their respective spouses they wanted a divorce Angela seemed to have another of her vague moments and said she did "not recall."  She would say that on the day of Jan's death she and Michael had met at a vacant apartment that her parents own (and she managed) for nearly 3 hours that afternoon having lunch and of course sex.  She would claim that on the night of Jan's murder she talked to Michael around 9:00 and he said he did not feel good and headed to bed.  The following morning she had texted Michael's cell phone several times as well as called with no answer.  This was unusual so she called the funeral home.  She knew that he had the phone transferred to his when he was not there.  This is when Michael answered and told her that Jan had drowned in the pool the night before.  She had spoken to him a few times since then but claimed she was giving him his space to deal with the issues at hand.  She claimed there was never any discussion of Michael planning to kill Jan and that since that time he had proclaimed his innocence. He seemingly told her the same thing he had told investigators about the events of the night, except of course to investigators he had left out any mention of Angela.  Investigators encouraged Angela to call Michael and confront him about prior mistresses, in fact they gave her a name to ask him about.  She did this and claimed he denied having affairs and claimed that the woman in question was "stalking" him.  When she made the call investigators could only hear Angela's side of the conversation and continuing with a pattern that would be all too familiar to investigators later, after the call she could not recall what exactly he said at certain times of the call.  They asked her to stay away from Michael until their investigation was complete, something she would fail to do.

Then on August 1, 2009 two very significant things happened.  First Angela Funk called investigators.  This in and of itself was odd because although for the most part she had cooperated with them, they had always gone to her, she had never come to them.  She called to tell them that she had discovered (supposedly that day) that she was pregnant.  She claimed that the baby belonged to Michael Roseboro and that she had called him just prior and given him the news.  Apparently, although their emails had indicated that they wanted to have children together, obviously Michael was none too thrilled and mentioned abortion.  This would likely be a good time to mention that even some of Angela's friends and family found this suspicious.  Angela's story was that there had been some sort of "condom malfunction" when they had sex once but others would claim that Angela knew exactly what she was doing and that she often bragged about knowing exactly when she could get pregnant.  Still others would claim that it was likely she was the aggressor in the relationship with Michael.  Of course this in no way gives Michael a pass on things since he chose to continue the relationship and he was the one who seemingly talked more about places to get married to Angela and evening sending her to websites to look at wedding dresses.  It appears that they were both equally obsessed with each other but I am sure Michael's money, prestige and looks did not hurt matters.

The other thing that happened on August 1st would be significant, not just in the timing but later to the defense at trial.  By this time Michael Roseboro had retain a lawyer.  Investigators had interviewed him a few times but as I said earlier it seemed neither side of the family seemed very cooperative so reality of it was that his retaining of a lawyer made little difference to them at that point since they had all they were probably going to get from him.  But, on this day Michael's attorney called to report that at the time of her death Jan was wearing approximately $40,000 in jewelry.  Now, what the lawyer was implying at that moment is a bit confusing.  It seems that he indicated that Michael did not recall necessarily seeing it on her when he supposedly removed her from the pool but that neither the coroner or medical examiner had returned the said jewelry. This was interesting to investigators for a few reasons.  For one, by this time Jan had been dead nine days and they had spoken to Michael several times and not once had he mentioned it.  Secondly, by this time they knew enough about Michael, let alone from being convinced he had killed his wife, to know that if that if something that valuable had been missing he would have jumped on it and there would have been a report way sooner.  Thirdly, they also knew enough about Jan at this point to doubt that she would be wearing that much jewelry, let alone to just sit by the pool.  Investigators told the attorney that Michael would need to come in and file a report as well as provide proof that she wore this on a regular basis as Michael had claimed.  It seems that a family member was sent with a picture of Jan wearing the jewelry and to file the report but left when he was told that Michael would be required to do so.  No report was ever filed.

By now investigators and the DA felt they had enough to at least arrest Michael Roseboro for the murder of his wife and he was arrested at the home of his parents on August 2, 2008.  So, what did they have on him at that point?  Well they had the fact that he was the only one home (aside from 3 minor children who were sleeping) at the time of his wife's murder; they knew the crime scene had to have been cleaned up; they knew that Michael's claim that the tiki torches were lit was disputed by every neighbor they spoke to; they knew that Michael was involved in an affair in which he at least claimed to plan to marry the woman; they knew that a divorce could cost him his children (who he seemingly adored) as well as put his family business at stake.  Oh, and by the time of his arrest they knew that Michael's claim that the jewelry he claimed was missing was not something that Jan wore "everywhere" as he claimed as well as the fact they had (or were getting) proof through a surveillance camera from a bank on the day of her murder that she had not been wearing it then.  In February they would also have proof that scrapings made from Jan's fingernails contained Michael's DNA, accounting for the three scratches on his face.  The other significance in this is that on one hand Jan had lost a finger at the tip years prior so she only had three fingernails on that hand.

By the time his trial began in July of 2009 not only had Angela Funk given birth to a son that DNA would confirm was Michael Roseboro's child, both the prosecution and the defense had their theories and strategies ready of course. Although a few conversations from the jail between Roseboro and Funk were played for the jury, by the time the of the trial Angela had rethought the relationship and had finally broken all contact from Michael.  Both she and her husband, Randall testified at the trial.  It was said that Randall stared Michael down throughout and after his testimony which basically amounted to testifying that on the night Jan was murdered Angela was at home with him and their two children.  Angela on the other hand barely acknowledged Michael.  It was said later that the only emotion Michael showed at trial was when Angela testified, talking about how she wanted nothing more to do with him and was attempting to work on her own marriage.  

The theory placed by the prosecution was that on the night of the murder based on the injuries to Jan's body, Michael had used a blunt object to hit her in the back of the head, choked her and then placed her into the pool while she was still breathing.  He then apparently cleaned up the area, where an obvious struggle had occurred and then lit the tiki torches, turned the flood light back on and made his 911 call.  The motive?  Well it was obvious, at least to the prosecution.... Murder was better than a divorce where he risked losing his children, his business and his wealth and in the process he got to move on to a new life with his new lover, Angela.

The defense obviously had a different theory.  In their theory, basically all had occurred as Michael stated repeatedly (he went to bed, woke up and saw the lights, went downstairs and found Angela in the pool) and he had nothing to do with Jan's murder.  They theorized that a stranger had come onto the property while Michael was in bed and had beaten and murdered Jan, and then stole her jewelry... so basically a robbery.  Of course with all the evidence of the affair with Angela they had little to counter that but as all defense attorneys would, and should, they pointed out that being a cheater did not make Michael a murderer as well as pointing out he had never had any legal problems in the past.  They also gained points when no one could testify as to any physical abuse between Michael and Jan in all the years they had been married.

The prosecution made some very good points themselves when they countered the defense theory. First of course they brought up the issue involving the jewelry.  Not only were they able to prove that she was not wearing the jewelry earlier in the day there was testimony that she did not wear it on a regular basis, nor would she have worn it to sit around the pool. To add to this, the theory of the jewelry being stolen was not mentioned for more than a week after her death.  Secondly, in order for the defense theory of a stranger to have worked, that would mean that based on Michael's story, the lights were on when he went to bed but an intruder would have had to turn them off (including the dusk to dawn light that was not so easy turned off), committed the murder and then not only turn back on the light but re-light the tiki torches.  That theory seems unlikely.  Not only that, but the supposed stranger would have then also hung around long enough to clean up the area, including all the blood that was likely to have been there.  

After a very long trial the jury took about five hours before finding Michael Roseboro guilty of the murder of his wife.  In September of 2009 per state laws he was sentenced to life in prison.  In Pennsylvania a life sentence, means life. In 2011 the defense filed an appeal largely based on the fact that two jury members had posted on Facebook during the trial.  One had apparently commented that the trial was taking forever, to which there was a comment from someone stating their less than stellar opinion of Michael and another juror posted a status that they despised jury duty.  The appeals court stated those comments or references did not equate to misconduct and denied the appeal.

In the end Jan's sister, Susie Van Zant, raised Jan's three minor children in the Roseboro home (it had once been Susie and Jan's childhood home, although renovated).  She said she felt they had enough turmoil in losing their parents and felt they did not need the added trauma of losing the only home they knew. She stated she obviously thought the pool would be an issue but that the children have said the pool did not kill their mother, their father did.  Susie has also started an organization called "Jan's Circle of Friends" in which it assists children affected by parental loss and domestic violence.  It seems that Susie, and her family obviously accepted that Michael was guilty of murdering Jan.

The Roseboro family however apparently feel differently.  From everything I have read, to this day they claim he is innocent.  Sadly throughout the process they have sold the family funeral home.  Whether that was due to financial issues, issues with how the family was perceived after Jan's murder or simply because there was no one else to take over I cannot say.  

Last I could tell Angela Funk is still married to Randall Funk and they are raising the two children they had together as well as the son she conceived with Roseboro.  On an episode of 48 Hours she declared that they take their marriage day by day so does not sound great, but then again it is progress.  


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