JERSEY - The family of Bonnie Woodward has justice served for the gruesome 2010 murder of Bonnie Woodward. Roger Carroll, charged with Woodward’s murder on April 12, 2018, was sentenced to 45 years for first-degree murder and 25 years for use of a firearm in the case on Thursday in Jersey County Court. Honorable Judge Eric Pistorius rendered the sentencing decision.
Roger Carroll showed no remorse when he was given his sentence by the judge and stood stone-faced like a statue. Woodward was 47 at the time of the murder. Crystal Uhe, the assistant Madison County State’s Attorney, and Jennifer Mudge prosecuted the case. Woodward was a mother of four, a cancer survivor and a caretaker at Eunice Smith for many years prior to her murder.
Woodward’s son, Joseph Poole, said he had to return to Middle East deployment after Bonnie’s murder.
“I couldn’t help my family look for my mom and that was very hard on me,” Joseph said in an impact statement about the murder. My mom missed two births and also missed dancing at my wedding reception while this animal walked for eight years before he was arrested.”
Bonnie’s brother Roscoe Gray said Bonnie was murdered on his 50th birthday.
“I fell into a deep depression but I had to stay strong for my family after her death,” he said in his impact statement. “Bonnie was murdered on my 50th birthday and I will never get that birthday back.”
Bonnie Woodward was reported missing on June 26, 2010. Woodward’s boyfriend and co-workers had not communicated with her and were concerned. Carroll was with his 16-year-old son returning from vacation when he drove past Eunice C. Smith Nursing Home. His son said she identified Bonnie was working that day with her car in the parking lot.
On June 26, 2010, Roger went back to Eunice Smith Nursing Home without his son and told Bonnie he had her then missing daughter at his house. Roger proceeded to take her to his home and shot and killed her.
Carroll’s fingerprints were later found on Bonnie’s truck, which made him an initial suspect in the case. Carroll denied he was near Woodward’s truck. Testimony shows Carroll knew Bonnie would be off work at 3 p.m. and later in the afternoon on that day, his son said he heard 8-9 gun shots fired then watched his father drag Woodward’s body across the yard. Carroll’s son said his father forced him to start a fire to burn Woodward’s body and destroy her phone with a hammer and toss it into the fire.
Unfortunately at the time, there was not enough evidence to charge Carroll for the murder and after considerable investigation in the case it became a cold case file.
After a family disagreement in 2018, where Carroll assaulted his wife, his son, Nathan, joined his mom with law enforcement to tell the story of Bonnie Woodward's death. Carroll’s son then testified of his knowledge in the case and how his father forced him to mow over grass where Woodward’s body remained and forced to shovel and disperse the ashes. With his son's testimony, Illinois State Police Crime Scene experts were able to search and recover 25 of Woodward’s bone fragments in Carroll's backyard and shell casing from the gun he used in the murder.
Roger Carroll was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in Jersey County on April 12, 2018.
Roger Carroll’s defense attorney Scott Snider asked for a 45-year sentence for Carroll since he is 54 years old and that would be a life sentence, but Judge Pistorius rejected the plea.
Carroll final statement to the judge was as follows: “I have nothing to apologize for. I have done nothing and I am innocent. Judge Pistorius, you did not give me a fair trial and I will appeal your sentence. You messed this case up and were a horrible judge. I am glad you gave my divorce trial to another judge because you are awful. I did nothing wrong.”
Bonnie Woodward's sister, Peggy Hart still grieves over the loss of her beloved sister. Peggy had a powerful impact statement and said the following: "Because of Bonnie, family gatherings were also such a special time. “She was the best host for barbecues and birthdays.
"We will never get to see her smile or laughter again.”
As the family and prosecution team left the courtroom on Thursday, there was deep satisfaction that finally after 10 years the man who they have described as “a monster” was convicted, sentenced, and will spend the rest of his entire existence in prison for the senseless murder of their beloved Bonnie Woodward.