Suspect’s Father: Son Killed Two Women in Botched Robbery Attempt
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ The father of a man accused of killing two lesbian activists said his son snapped under business and personal pressure and shot the women in a botched robbery attempt after killing another person.
A SWAT team converged on a motel Wednesday in Stockton, Calif., and arrested Robert James Acremant, 27, on charges of murdering Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill in Medford. His mother had tipped off police.
The two women were found last week bound, gagged and shot in the head in the back of their pickup truck.
Acremant’s father, Kenneth Acremant of Stockton, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday night that his son told him he killed the women when a robbery attempt went awry.
``He said he needed the money to get out of the country,″ said the elder Acremant, who visited his son in jail.
The slayings alarmed many gays, who believed the women were killed because of their gay rights activism. Police, prosecutors and the suspect’s father said there was no indication that was the case.
Acremant also said that his son admitted killing a friend, Scott George, 23, of Visalia, Calif., on Oct. 3 in a fit of rage after a night of drinking.
Police in Visalia, Stockton and Medford said no one was available to comment on the father’s remarks.
Acremant said his son, who holds a graduate business degree, had a series of problems with his career and his relationship with a woman. He said his son had quit a steady job to market a computer program.
``The stress of not achieving in the so-called corporate world and his girlfriend breaking up with him was just too much,″ said the elder Acremant, a cattle ranch owner and a bar manager.
``He wasn’t brought up this way. Something happened to him and he cracked.″
Ellis, 53, and Abdill, 42, disappeared Dec. 4. Ellis, a partner with Abdill in a property management company, had showed an apartment in Medford and then called Abdill for help starting the truck. Their bodies were discovered three days later in the truck, which was parked at the apartment complex.
The elder Acremant said that as part of the robbery attempt his son told Ellis to call Abdill. He did not elaborate.
Acremant, who knew Ellis through the property management agency, had moved to Medford recently with his mother and rented an apartment four blocks away from the crime scene.
A phone tip led police to a Motel 6 in Stockton in central California where Acremant had registered under his own name and had parked a U-Haul van. Acremant surrendered without incident.
Acremant’s mother, who asked not to be named, tipped off authorities.
``I called police because I have to look God in the face,″ she told The Oregonian. ``I will do anything in my power to make sure other people aren’t hurt. But right now, he’s sick.″