LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Robert “Blaine” Roper pleaded guilty on Friday to first-degree murder in the 2014 death of his newborn child. Roper appeared in the Metro Lynchburg/Moore County Courthouse Friday morning, just four days after his wife, Carol Michelle “Keri” Roper, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the same case.
With jury selection scheduled just more than five weeks away, Blaine Roper avoided trial and instead pleaded guilty, accepting a sentence of life in prison.
Roper and his wife were arrested in November 2014 and charged with killing their newborn child following an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) in conjunction with the Metro Moore County Sheriff’s Department.
According to sheriff’s department officials, both Keri Roper and Blaine Roper were being held in a Nashville correctional facility, each under a $1 million bond.
On Monday, June 20, Keri Roper appeared in the Shelbyville courthouse where she entered a plea to second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison and will not be eligible for parole.
The Ropers were indicted by the Moore County Grand Jury on Oct. 31, 2014. Each were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of felony murder.
TBI Special Agents began investigating the couple on Sept. 23, 2014, at the request of 17th District Attorney General Robert Carter and Metro Moore County Sheriff Mark Logan. On the same date, investigators with the sheriff’s department received information regarding the unreported death of the couple’s newborn child.
According to TBI reports, through the joint investigation, TBI and Moore County investigators learned the Ropers, of 3539 Wet Prong Road in Mulberry, had been expecting their second child and attempted to keep the pregnancy hidden from friends and family.
A release by the TBI stated that the investigation further revealed the couple delivered the child at their home alone in early August of that year. After being born, the baby died as a result of actions taken by the parents. Investigators later discovered the newborn’s remains in a fire pit and ditch located on and near the property where the Ropers resided.
The pair were scheduled to be tried separately, with jury selection for Blaine Roper’s trial to begin on Aug. 3 in Lynchburg.