Local News

Suspect in insurance examiner's slaying won't face death penalty

Posted July 17, 2008

— Mecklenburg County prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against a man charged in the May slaying of North Carolina Department of Insurance investigator Sallie Rohrbach.

Rohrbach, 44, of Angier, was reported missing May 16. Her body was found four days later in a private wooded area of Fort Mill, S.C.

Michael Howell, 40, the owner of Dilworth Insurance Agency in Charlotte is charged with first-degree murder.

According to search warrants, Rohrbach was in Charlotte reviewing the insurance company's financial records after GMAC Insurance pulled its operating agreement for failing to pay customer premiums.

Investigators have not said how Rorhbach died, but sources within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have told CBS affiliate WBTV that she died from blunt force trauma and that the slaying occurred inside Howell's office.


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  • bluewind Jul 18, 2008

    I also can't believe that Jakeim Wilson wasn't sentenced to death! God, I pray for that woman's family, and for her soul...

  • bluewind Jul 18, 2008

    jurydoc, thank you for the explanation on 1st and 2nd degree murder. I do think it's horrible that if you commit murder, except for self-defense, of course, that there is any wiggle room.

  • justjean Jul 18, 2008

    Very sad for all involved.

  • carolina2 Jul 18, 2008

    "DA's do NOT take this decision lightly"

    I am sure it was not taken lightly then
    there must have been mitigating reasons

    I would think that if they could pin the
    death penalty on him they would have

  • jurydoc Jul 18, 2008

    In NC, in order for a DA to consider the death penalty, not only do they have to have evidence that supports a first degree (premeditated, deliberate, with malice) murder (or felony murder), they also have to have evidence in support of at least one statutory aggravating circumstance. This is the MINIMUM requirement in order to seek the death penalty as a possible punishment. Announcing the death penalty is on the table results in many additional provisions for the defense. #1 being that he is then entitled to 2 defense attorneys. It is at this point the costs of the prosecution begin to jump considerably, thus, DA's do NOT take this decision lightly. If he doesn't think he has the EVIDENCE required to prove, not only first degree, but also the aggravating circumstance, it is his obligation to NOT put the death penalty on the table.

  • carolina2 Jul 18, 2008

    "undetermined. When a person is dumped and left to the elements"

    that might be the problem

    does anyone know what the requirements are for the death penalty?

    I think it should be, if you done it, you get it

  • ncguy Jul 18, 2008

    No Justice! for her spouse!
    If I were the husband I would sue mecklenburg county D A's office. I would go on every talk show I could and tell them about no justice- I doubt that DA would make it another year.

  • familyfour Jul 18, 2008

    If they KNOW he killed her, what difference does it make HOW he did it? What does it take to get the death penalty?

  • rcrdngcountry Jul 18, 2008

    this is the very reason we have so much killing

  • GWALLY Jul 18, 2008

    it's called "LIBERAL" justice.