Ohio death row inmate linked to 30-year-old cold case in Charlotte County
A death row inmate in Ohio has been named the suspect in a 30-year-old cold case in Charlotte County.
Sharon Gill was 42 when she was stabbed to death in her Deep Creek home in 1990. Investigators say she was on the phone with a travel agent and told them someone was in her home before hanging up.
That someone, detectives now believe, was Roland Thomas Davis, now 68.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Team said thanks to DNA developments, they were able to connect Davis to the homicide. He’s currently in prison in Chillicothe, Ohio, for the murder of an 86-year-old woman in 2000.
At the time of Gill’s murder, Davis was working for a landscaping company that Gill hired. Davis’ DNA was found inside Gill’s home, detectives said.
“Of course, he denied being in the victim’s home where the DNA was found,” said Det. Mike Vogel, who also said Davis had no other motive “than he’s probably a psychopath.”
“In this particular case, you have DNA that was tested under all technology and had leads but not a solution. The new technology allowed this case to be solved,” said Dan Feinberg with the State Attorney’s Office.
Gill’s daughter Krista said she’s grateful detectives never gave up.
“I thought OK, so what’s the motive? And you think it’s going to bring a lot of closure; it’s actually opened the box of more questions. Why? Why did he come to my parents’ house that day?”
Solving the case would have meant a lot to her father.
“I’ve thought of my dad often and I’ve said God, I wish my dad was here. Because he would be relieved to know who the person is.”
Krista is the one who discovered her mom’s body that day, all those years ago.
“I always thought it was someone that my mom knew, that my dad knew, because it was such a hate crime,” she said. “I’m very grateful to know who the person is; I’m even more grateful to know that he’s behind bars.”
Krista said her mother was the type of person to invite people over for Christmas dinner if they were alone, or to hand out gifts to those who didn’t have any.
“I think that was one of the hardest things, them just loving on people and then somebody came into our home and did what they did to our family and it was just devastating.”
Even though detectives are confident they have their man, their investigation is still ongoing and they’re asking for help.
Davis, who went by “Rollie,” has previously listed addresses in North Fort Myers and Punta Gorda, but was known to have stayed on Fort Myers Beach and in LaBelle, detectives said.
He also had a history of arrests during his time in Southwest Florida, from theft to domestic violence and aggravated assault.
The sheriff’s office wants anyone who went to the following bars between 1970 and 2004 and might have seen Davis or knew him to contact them: Mayfair Lounge (owned by Davis’ mother), Jim’s Pub or Big Still Lounge in North Fort Myers; Rendezvous or Branding Iron in Port Charlotte; Good Times in Punta Gorda; and Live Oak Lounge in LaBelle.
CCSO said Davis also had a motorcycle and would hang out at biker bars.
The sheriff’s office can be reached at (941) 639-2101.