Police: Former York mayor attacked, killed in driveway

Police: Former York mayor attacked, killed in driveway

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by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Tony: TBurbeck@WCNC.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on February 5, 2010 at 6:37 PM

YORK, S.C. -- A prominent, small-town attorney was attacked and killed in his own driveway Thursday night.

Now, police are looking into whether one of the victim's clients might have been mad enough to kill him.

The attacker jumped 78-year-old Melvin Roberts after he got out of his car.

York Police say the killer laid in wait for Roberts to come home. A short time before that, police say the killer also jumped Roberts' live-in girlfriend when she got home. The man bound and gagged her in an apparent robbery.

Investigators aren't saying how Roberts died, but the Charlotte Observer is reporting that he was shot.

Police say Roberts' girlfriend heard a pop, but she didn't see much.

"Hopefully, now that she's calmed down a bit, she can give us a better description of the suspect," York Police Chief Bill Mobley said.

Right now, the description is vague. Police say the attacker was described as a man who spoke with an accent -- but they're not sure what type of accent. He's between 5-feet-9 and 5-feet-11, and 200 to 240 pounds.

"We are going to put every effort that we have to get this thing cleared as quickly as possible," Mobley said.

Roberts was York's mayor in 1972. He was also a former town council member. 

At the time of his death, he was a practicing attorney and businessman. Current Mayor Eddie Lee said Roberts influenced him.

"I listened closely to what Melvin Roberts told me about politics," Lee said. "Melvin Roberts will be missed."

Police say they are looking through Roberts' casework as an attorney to see if anyone may have wanted to target him. Investigators were also working on a sketch of the possible killer.

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