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Aunt of teenage murder suspect says he was good at heart but consumed by drugs

Gabriel Roche is charged with killing Weston North early Saturday near Republic

January 02, 2012|by Jay Scherder, KY3 News | jscherder@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- An aunt of Gabriel Roche says the use of methamphetamine changed the personality of the 18-year-old man who was arrested on Saturday night for murder.  Roche is being held without bond at the Greene County jail after Weston North's body was found in a ditch about a mile south of Republic High School on Saturday morning.

Roche's aunt said in a telephone interview on Monday that he had a loving and sweet side to him. She said his addiction to drugs exposed a much darker, sinister side.

"Weston didn't deserve to die. He was a sweet, caring boy," said Erika North, Weston's mother, on Sunday.

It is a horrific and tragic start to the New Year for Weston's family.

"I just want him back.  I just want him back," Erika said about her fallen son.  

Greene County sheriff's deputies say Weston was murdered by Gabriel Roche.  A detective wrote in his probable cause statement that Roche said he wanted to kill North because he believed he was a "snitch."  Roche told investigators that North begged for his life, and then Roche cut his throat.  Investigators have not said what Roche believed Weston snitched about.

"The person I'm going to describe for you is not going to be the boy you see in that mugshot," said Gabriel's aunt, Elizabeth Roche.  "He had a magnetic personality around him.  Everywhere I would take him, everyone would fall in love with him because he was so funny and talented."

Elizabeth says Gabriel had a troubled upbringing but had a good heart.  Recently, however, things started to change.

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"In the last year, the boy we know changed.  He became a person none of us recognized," she said.

According to the family, meth consumed Gabriel.  The sweet, loving boy they all knew had turned into a dark monster.

"In my heart of hearts, I knew the next thing I heard was going to be bad.  I thought it would be an overdose or a car wreck.  I never would have imagined that he could hurt someone else," Elizabeth said.

The family knows his actions cannot be taken back but offers deep sympathy to Weston North's family.

"We are so sad for them.  We really are.  Every single one of us has cried in our complete shock and disbelief."   

Something surrounding this case right now is the possibility of gang activity.  Weston's Facebook and MySpace accounts stated he was involved in a gang.  Elizabeth Roche said Gabriel had mentioned being in a gang as well.  However, the Greene County Sheriff's Department has not confirmed any such gang activity and is still investigating.

A memorial fund has been set up at the Just One More nightclub in Republic. Monetary donations can be dropped off from 1pm to 1:30am Monday through Saturday.

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