Nearly four years after he was found murdered on the kitchen floor of his Greene County mansion family members of Rolland Comstock will face each other in court....on opposite sides of the aisle.
On July 3, 2007, 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 house phone so she headed out to his house in northern Greene County.
To gain access to the mansion, which is surrounded by dense woods and a wrought iron fence, you had to know the code that opened the gates and get out and remove chains that secured the gate, to the property near McDaiel Lake
When Frakes entered the house she found her friend and mentor dead from multiple gunshot wounds on the floor near the kitchen - his pet hybrid wolves were nearby howling in agony.
Investigators say it doesn't appear that burglary or theft were 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.
A civil jury will begin to hear testimony tomorrow (06-28-11) in the wrongful death lawsuit that Rolland's adopted daughter, Faith Stocker, has brought against her mother Alberta Comstock for murder of the respected attorney and renowned book collector.
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. An extended family member has said that Alberta Comstock was upset that her ex-husband's gay lover "was living her life and she was mad as hell."
|Photo of Rolland Comstock's beloved home library|
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.
Alberta and Michael Comstock told authorities 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 Rolland adopted early in his marriage to Alberta.
The return of the search warrant 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 couples 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 near her home in Fairland, Oklahoma 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.
A convenience store employee in Monett told detectives that Alberta Comstock she remembers seeing Alberta Comstock's truck parked there the night of Rolland Comstock's murder.
About this time last year Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott told the Ozarks Sentinel that this 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," he said at the time.
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."
In May of 2009 Comstock House was sold for about $400,000 -- it failed to ganer a single bid at an auction in June of 2008.
The sweeping lawn leading to the home that Comstock so loved is now 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.
A grand jury convened last October at the request of former prosecutor Darell Moore looked at the Comstock case. There were no inidictments issued at the conclusion of the grand jury in May of this year.
There still have been no criminal charges filed against anyone in connection to Comstock's murder.