In my last blog, I wrote about Melanie McGuire, who murdered her husband and disposed of his body in suitcases. This week, I feature Carl Roland. In 2005, Roland killed his ex-girlfriend and tried to avoid capture by sitting on a construction crane for three days.
A little prelude is in order. Flagpole sitting was a fad popular in the 1920s. The idea was to perch on some high pole, usually a flagpole, for an extended period as a demonstration or test of endurance. No flagpole sitter was more famous than Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly. The craze faded as the Great Depression deepened in the 1930s, but it appears it inspired Carl Roland.
Carl Roland Flees
It was May 24, 2005, when police in Pinellas County, Florida, discovered the badly beaten body of Jennifer Gonzalez in a retention pond behind her Oldsmar apartment. She had last been seen with her ex-boyfriend, Carl Roland. When Roland failed to return to his Clearwater, Florida, home, police issued an arrest warrant for him.
Roland appeared at a construction site in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood the next day. Upon reaching the site, he commandeered a crane’s elevator and rode it up eighteen stories before crawling out on its horizontal arm. Thus began a modern flagpole-sitting event.
For three days, area traffic snarled as authorities tried to convince Roland to come down. At first, he refused all offers of food and water. But after 56 hours, he finally agreed to accept some water. At 12:30 a.m. on May 28, he edged toward police, who tasered and tackled him. They then wrapped him onto a stretcher and lowered him to the ground. After a quick visit to a nearby hospital, police hustled Roland to the Fulton County jail, where he awaited extradition to Florida.
On February 12, 2009, a jury found Roland guilty of first-degree murder. Judge Timothy Peters sentenced him to life in prison without parole.
Today (2023), Carl Edward Roland resides at the South Bay Correctional Facility in Palm Beach County, Florida.
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