Friends, police identify man who died after Downtown Roanoke apartment assault

ROANOKE, Va. – Friends are speaking out after a man died following a Downtown Roanoke apartment assault.

Police said the victim of the attack was Paul Wortham, but several of his friends said they knew him as Jay Wright.

Officers said that the suspect and victim got into a verbal fight in the lobby of the Parkway building on July 4 before it turned physical.

Friends said they were devastated to hear the news.

“He just lightened up anything,” friend Cary Leeth said. “He was certainly a very special person.”

Leeth said he and others met him at local restaurants. Fork in the Market was one of his favorites.

“Everybody liked him, and that’s what’s hard to believe,” Leeth said. “He didn’t have an enemy in the world.”

According to the search warrant, on July 4 he was punched, fell to the ground, then hit his head on the floor of the foyer. Police said he was taken to the hospital where he later died.

“He was in a coma, and he was in it for about eight days,” Leeth said. “Even some of my friends said we heard he may not make it, and nobody could get in to see him. We didn’t hear a word.”

Police said on July 4, the suspect left the scene but later returned and was interviewed by officers.

No one’s been charged in the case yet, but Leeth said it’s time for justice.

“I know a lot of people from a lot of these restaurants, establishments, whenever they have a court case, we will be there,” Leeth said.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

Recommended Videos