Jury finds Rother guilty of first-degree murder

MANASSAS — A jury of four women and eight men convicted Prince William resident Allan L. Rother of first-degree murder, sentencing him to life in prison for the murder of his live-in girlfriend, Rosemary Tascione.

The jury deliberated less than 15 minutes Wednesday in Prince William County Circuit Court on the sentencing portion of Rothers trial after they found him guilty earlier in the day for the Nov. 6, 2000, murder.

During closing arguments, the prosecution spoke of Tascione, 55, as a woman who liked to garden, a hard worker at her job as a court transcriber in Washington, D.C., and a trusting friend to Rother during their 16-year relationship.

Tasciones unclothed body was found Nov. 7 in a District alley. Her hands were duct-taped behind her back and body covered in bruises. A garbage bag was taped to her chest after her breasts had been cut off.

“What is in somebodys mind that would have them commit an act like this?” Prince William Commonwealths Attorney Paul B. Ebert asked the jury. “You have heard testimony from Detective Masterson that he told him he was a monster. Well, the monster came out in him, and the monster tortured her.”

Prince William Detective Paul J. Masterson testified on the witness stand Tuesday that he had brought Rother in for questioning about Tasciones disappearance Nov. 10. Rother had called the police earlier, filing a missing persons report on Tascione. Rother told police he had become worried because he had not seen Tascione since the morning of Nov. 6.

After an hour of talking to Rother, Masterson told him that Tasciones body had been found in Washington, D.C. He also told him that the Metropolitan Police Department had evidence that Rother had been in that area. Masterson said in court that he had no such evidence at the time, but it was that information that prompted Rother to change his story.

Rother then admitted to Masterson that he had come home from work on that Monday night and found Tascione dead in bed. He said he got scared and put her body in his car. He later broke down and said he was a “monster,” and that he was going to jail “for 20 years.”

During the first two days of the trial, prosecutors had presented evidence that Tasciones blood had been found on objects inside the trailer the couple shared in the Independent Hill area and also in Rothers station wagon. One of the items included a white bucket, which was recovered by police from the trailer and contained traces of Tasciones blood.

“[The detectives] went to the trailer four times,” said Rothers attorney, Robert Horan III. “They went on Nov. 10 and they said they locked it up.”

Horan then said the detectives never indicated whether they had locked the door on the following visits, and because the bucket wasnt found until a later visit the evidence might not have been secure.

Robert Coleman, also an attorney for Rother, said his client had no previous record, was “gainfully employed” in Manassas, had never been in trouble at work and was described as a good employee.

A Prince William Circuit Court judge will rule on formal sentencing by June 7. The charge of first-degree murder carries a sentence of 20 years in prison to life. The jury could also have found Rother guilty of second-degree murder, meaning there was no premeditation in the act, which would have carried a sentence of five to 20 years in prison.

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