LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — A trial date for Robert ‘Blaine’ Roper, 27, has been set for Aug. 8 according to court officials.
Roper and his wife Carol Michelle ‘Keri’ Roper, 21, 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.
The pair will be tried separately; no trial date has been set for Keri Roper as of press time this week.
According to Sheriff’s Department officials, both Keri Roper and Blaine Roper are being held in a Nashville correctional facility, each under a $1 million bond.
Jury selection for the case is expected to be Aug. 3-5 in Lynchburg, with Blaine Roper’s trial set to begin the following Monday, Aug. 8. The jury is also expected to be sequestered and during the course of the trial will likely be housed in Fayetteville.
On Oct. 31, 2014, the Moore County Grand Jury indicted the Ropers, each 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 Ropers 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 while at their home alone in early August of that year. After being born, the child 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.