Former assistant principal charged in co-worker’s killing
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — A former assistant principal was arrested Friday on murder charges in the death of a co-worker at a South Florida high school.
The Miami Herald reports that 39-year-old Ernest Joseph Roberts was charged in the killing of 41-year-old Kameela Russell. They had known each other since they were children and worked for years at Norland Senior High School in Miami Gardens until Roberts was transferred in February, records show.
Russell was missing for more than a week until a teenager found her body May 25 on the banks of a canal near Roberts’ house. She had two daughters.
An arrest warrant says phone records place Russell in Roberts’ home, and investigators believe evidence indicates she died there before Roberts disposed of her car, an Audi. Blood evidence and signs that someone used bleach to clean up the house were discovered, the warrant says.
After Russell’s disappearance, the warrant says, Roberts went to the school where he had been transferred before he was scheduled to chaperone a student trip to Washington, D.C. He then called another employee at the school and told that person to look in a specific file cabinet drawer.
Inside was a set of Audi car keys and a handwritten note: “Do you know anyone that can chop up a car? If so or make it ‘disappear’ take these keys. It’s behind the speedway racetrack on 441 by County line. Friends are gone and need it to disappear. If not leave it + I’ll work it out later. Throw this note away.”
That employee contacted police, telling them that Roberts had also called and said, “I did something crazy.”
Roberts also told the employee, who was not identified in the warrant, that an intruder broke into his home and he “hit the person with a baseball bat.” Roberts said he wrapped the body in a tarp and dragged it through his house, leaving blood stains, the arrest warrant says.
Authorities found the Audi where the note said it would be and noted that Russell’s body was wrapped in a tarp when it was found in the canal. Blood found in Roberts’ house matched the DNA of Russell, the arrest warrant says.
A Miami-Dade schools spokesman said Roberts has been removed from his job and officials are moving to permanently fire him.
It was not clear Friday whether Roberts has an attorney.
Information from: The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com