It was three years ago today that attorney and world renowned book collector Rolland Comstock was found murdered in his Greene County mansion and authorities still have made no arrests in the case.

Sheriff Jim Arnott says he has a person assigned to the case to comb through leads that continue to trickle in. "There's really nothing new to report. We want a solid case when we take it to the prosecutors office."
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Sheriff Jim Arnott

Comstock's former home isn't far from McDaniel Lake, it is surrounded by dense woods and a wrought iron fence and gate that you have to put a code in to enter. Comstock's assistant, Becky Frakes, became concerned when she couldn't reach the former State Representative on his cell phone after getting a continual busy signal on the home phone, so she headed out to his house in northern Greene County.

When she entered the house she found her friend and mentor dead from multiple gunshot wounds on the floor near the kitchen.



Investigators say that theft does not appear to be the motive in the book fanatics murder as no books were found to be missing after they searched Comstock's unique cataloguing system. There also appeared to be no signs of forced entry to the house.

So, who killed Rolland Comstock?

In court documents filed eleven months after Comstock's death, search warrants revealed that detectives were interested in two family members in connection to the 70 year-old mans murder.....his ex-wife and son.

Rolland and Alberta Comstock were divorced in 2005 after thirty eight years of marriage and were involved in a bitter dispute over a $215,000 settlement Rolland Comstock was to pay his former wife. Court documents give us a glimpse at some of the things that authorities asked a judge for in the warrants. DNA samples from both Alberta and Michael Comstock were taken.

In interviews conducted by authorities both Alberta and Michael Comstock say that it had been several years since they had been inside the mansion. However, investigators say that DNA from a cigarette butt recovered at the crime scene belongs to, Michael "Andy" Comstock, the estranged son that Rolland adopted early in his marriage to Alberta.


Comstock in his beloved home library

The search warrant's return also reveals that confidential legal paperwork from Alberta's attorney pertaining to her divorce from Comstock, as well as a health directive that was drawn up after the Comstock's divorce, were found inside a black satchel inside the mansion.

Court filings also reveal that Alberta Comstock, who tested positive for gun shot residue on her hands the day after Comstock's murder, bought a handgun the day before her ex-husbands death. Bullet casings recovered from the crime scene were sent to the crime lab to be analyzed to determine if they were fired from the recently purchased weapon.

Asked in an interview several years ago if there was anymore room in his massive home library for books, Comstock scanned the room that he was so proud of and whispered, "I wouldn't want to say without checking to see if this room is bugged. If my wife would hear me say that we're running very short on room, I think she'd murder me tonight!"


Photo of Rolland Comstock's home library

That's exactly what Alberta and Rolland's daughter Faith Stocker thinks. A year after her fathers murder she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her mother claiming that she is responsible for her fathers death. The lawsuit states, "On or about July 3, 2007, Defendant, acting alone or in conspiracy with another, shot (Rolland Comstock) four times with a .38 caliber weapon." It goes on to say, "Defendants' acts were the direct and proximate cause of the Decedent's death."

On October 2, 2008, Alberta Comstock's attorney, Tim Richardson, filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the civil lawsuit that Stocker filed that names her mother responsible for Rolland Comstock's death.

In January 2009 Greene County Circuit Court Judge Michael Cordonnier ruled that the wrongful death lawsuit could proceed to trial. Cordonnier said, "criminal cases get filed against innocent people all the time." In the spring of 2009 Judge Cordonnier ruled that pictures that were part of the Comstock's divorce case be preserved and made available to Alberta Comstock's attorneys.

The case was supposed to be heard by a jury in a Greene County courtroom last month but was delayed again as the defense filed a motion for continuance. The legal wrangling continues as the most recent docket entry posted on July 1st has no mention of a new trial date.

Last year about this same time Sheriff Arnott said that the case was far from cold. "We have a full time investigator working on the case...were not ready to bring it to a close yet, but we are still working on it."

I have asked authorities and prosecutors if they are waiting to see how the civil case plays out before they make any arrests. Arnott said, "When we have the evidence for an arrest, we'll make it."



Comstock House was sold for about $400,000 in May of 2009. At an auction in June of 2008 the house didn't get a single bid. The sweeping lawn leading to the home that Comstock so loved is brown and not tended to, and the prominent concrete slab set in stone that let visitors know they were on the grounds of Comstock House is now just a memory, like that of Rolland Comstock.

3 comments:

amanda said...

Wow, Kathee, what a fascinating story. I'm so sorry for those that love Mr. Comstock. I'm amazed that criminals can outsmart the legal system...keep us posted on this!

Kathee Baird said...

Somehow in cyberspace is the comment about hybrid wolves.

Yes, he had at least two, who were mourning when his assistant arrived at the house.

If memory serves, they were taken to an animal sanctuary and one of them escaped.


k

Anonymous said...

In regards to Rolland Comsock. I am saddened to find this rather sensationalistic blog. I find myself once again wishing that the public knew the complete back story of the entire family but that is, accordingly, private information.
Suffice it to say that ALL members of this family are normal human beings with all of the inherent flaws found therein; as are present in each and every one of us.
In my considered opinion, this blog exists solely for associated fame, gossip mongering and is completely voyuristic in nature. It does a disservice to Rolland and the entire family; he would NOT have been pleased to see this. Moreover, multiple items are being presented in a factual manner that are simply heresay or innacurate information. Please don't continue to disseminate false information based purely upon sensationalistic speculation just because a warm human being's dramatic death is your form of entertainment. Walk a mile in those shoes; would you want your own family posted on the internet like this? I say, for shame.

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