Jun. 19 — PORTALES – Autumn Duran remembers James Roper as a free-spirit, wandering the streets of Portales, making folks snigger.
She referred to as him “the statue.”
“We noticed him round quite a bit,” she mentioned. “He would stand at Allsup’s and probably not transfer, simply transfer his eyes. After which he’d begin to winking and smiling. He’d ask for change or no matter, however I feel that was only a means for him to get to know folks. “
She additionally remembered him standing on the street. “He’d throw his hat on the bottom, then act like a gorilla after which choose his hat up and stroll off. He was simply being humorous.
“He would not hurt anybody,” Duran mentioned. “What occurred to him was very, very inhumane.”
What occurred to James Roper, 37, in keeping with police, is a bunch of juvenile boys punched him, then kicked him within the head in an alley behind an Allsup’s on West Second Road on June 5. Prosecutor Brian Stover mentioned the boys advised investigators Roper “disrespected” them.
He died Tuesday after being faraway from life assist in a Lubbock hospital.
A minimum of 2 teenagers face legal grownup costs
4 teenagers, all between the ages of 15 and 17, are charged with a second-degree homicide in connection along with his demise. Stover obtained plans to cost the 2 teenagers accused of beating and kicking Roper as adults. Two others may be charged as adults, however Stover mentioned he does not consider these boys immediately attacked Roper.
“There are two youngsters we all know who punched and kicked him,” Stover mentioned final week after investigators reviewed safety footage from a close-by enterprise. Two others they mentioned are additionally charged with second-degree homicide as a result of they brought on or inspired others to commit the violence.
Stover mentioned one boy within the group didn’t chase Roper after he tried to stroll away from the teenagers so he in all probability will not face legal costs.
Stover mentioned he plans to determine on grownup sanctions in opposition to two of the boys after receiving enter from juvenile probation authorities this week. A grand jury will finally should determine whether or not to indict after Stover presents proof.
Stover mentioned two of the boys had been in police custody as of Friday afternoon. The others are “nonetheless in Portales,” they mentioned, however had not turned themselves into an early Friday afternoon.
Stover mentioned proof investigators have gathered exhibits Roper first encountered 5 youth on the Allsup’s.
“Our sufferer is somebody identified to have some psychological well being points. In some unspecified time in the future, they snatches a cellphone away from one of many boys. They push him and snatch it again,” Stover mentioned.
Stover obtained the 5 boys then walked away.
“They stroll round to (Japanese New Mexico College) and make a loop and are available again. After they come again, our sufferer remains to be there,” Stover mentioned.
“They confront him as a result of they really feel they have been disrespected. They shove him, phrases are exchanged, they chase him into an alleyway, and so they beat him.”
Stover mentioned Roper was well-known round Portales. “They’d stroll up and down the primary street, visiting with folks.
“James would get into hassle each from time to time, however he wasn’t a identified legal. He wasn’t identified to be violent.”
On these events when legal costs had been filed in opposition to Roper, they had been dismissed as a result of he was discovered incompetent to face trial, Stover mentioned.
” we simply had that assembly with county personnel and the cities speaking in regards to the feasibility of a psychological well being facility for this area,” Stover mentioned. “In a means this sort of highlights the necessity for a facility like that.”
Candlelight vigil scheduled for Sunday
Duran and her pal, Patricia Freeman, have scheduled a candlelight vigil in Roper’s honor. That is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Sunday in Portales Metropolis Park.
“Everyone deserves justice,” Duran mentioned. “Everyone deserves a farewell and one thing good.”
Freeman mentioned she knew Roper after they labored collectively at High quality Janitorial for about six months. “Virtually all people on the town has identified him in a roundabout way,” she mentioned.
She mentioned she hopes the Sunday vigil will give Roper’s family and friends an opportunity to inform tales and share reminiscences about him. “It is vital that all of us pull collectively at a time like this,” she mentioned.
Pals and acquaintances have already left dozens of reminiscences about Roper on a neighborhood Fb web page.
These feedback included references to “a pleasant man. We all the time talked to him at McDonald’s.” One mentioned, “Rope had an enormous coronary heart.” One other mentioned, “He all the time handled me with respect and humor.” And one mentioned he was “all the time candy and respectful on the town with a giant smile and a wave and a candy thanks any time you handed him cash.”
His demise, one tribute line, was “extremely mindless.”
Carol Casados is Roper’s sister. “What occurred is heartbreaking,” she wrote on the Fb web page. “(M) Any lives have modified without end due to it. Our household want to say thanks to the neighborhood for all of the prayers and type phrases.”
Casados additionally wrote that she would “wish to share that after James handed he continued serving to others. He saved 3 lives by donating organs. He’ll reside on by means of others. A real act of giving.”
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