Pulaski County man to spend 20+ years in prison for second-degree murder

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – A man about to go on trial for first-degree murder submitted an Alford plea to a reduced charge on Tuesday.

Daniel Ray James, 53,  will spend the next 23 years in prison for second-degree murder and arson in the death of Roger Warren Roope in Pulaski County last year. A judge sentenced James to 43 years in prison, with 20 years suspended.

Roope's body was found in his burning home and an autopsy revealed he had been shot in the head.

On July 20, 2016, Pulaski County firefighters found a very badly burned body in a house fire in the Dublin area.

The fire fatality investigation turned into a suspicious death investigation when the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office was notified that the deceased person had suffered a gunshot wound.

Investigators spent numerous hours sifting through burned piles of debris, and at one point Sheriff's Office personnel called for the 5-foot-tall grass in the yard to be mowed so the area could be searched thoroughly.

After conducting a number of interviews and following up on leads generated by Sheriff's Office investigators working at times in three counties, an arrest was made on July 29, 2016.

Pulaski County Sheriff's Office personnel, assisted by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, located and arrested James. He was at a residence in the Pilot section of Montgomery County.

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