A Howard County juror who was part of the panel that found a North Laurel homeless man guilty Monday in the burning death of his girlfriend said Richard Allen Rodola’s own testimony helped convince the juror of the verdict.
Police and prosecutors said Rodola poured gasoline over 37-year-old Pamela Myers before lighting her on fire in the woods by Route 1 in North Laurel in the fall of 2010.
James Mackin was part of the 12-person jury who spent 22 hours deliberating the verdict that was issued Monday: guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the death of Myers, according to the Howard County Times.
Rodola, 50, had been charged with first-degree murder and assault in Myers’ death.
“It was a very difficult for us to fathom someone intending to do this,” Mackin told Patch.
Myers died Nov. 18, 2010 after being hospitalized. The Times reported that she needed eight surgeries for burns over 52 percent of her body.
Mackin said jurors spent time analyzing Rodola’s actions, using evidence and testimony to determine his intent. Rodola’s time on the stand was “significant in our decision,” Mackin said.
“While being a witness for his own trial, he admitted that he did pour gasoline on her at two different times, and that he did light the lighter and stepped toward her and held the lighter toward her,” he said.
Rodola claimed during the trial that both he and Myers were drunk and the incident was an accident, according to the Howard County Times.
Myers was found in the woods near the 9100 block of Washington Blvd. in North Laurel on Oct. 23, 2010. She later died at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.
Rodola’s sentencing is scheduled for May 22, the Times reported.