Roanoke man in court over Melrose Avenue motel murder

By Heather Butterworth - Digital Content Producer

ROANOKE, Va. - The man who is accused of killing a motel owner is scheduled to be arraigned in Roanoke on Friday.

Roanoke resident Timothy Church is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 60-year-old Troutville resident Ish Patel. 

As police responded to a report of a robbery on January 23, 2018, they found Church, who was 26 at the time, locked in the Starlite Motel's office with Patel and two women. 

An officer saw through a window that a man was holding a baseball bat and standing over two women who were huddled together. Police said one woman had visible serious injuries and the other woman was later found to be injured.

After police made entry into the office, they say Church dropped the baseball bat and ran back through the business, dove through a glass window to the exterior of the building, and then ran away on foot.

Police caught up to him at the intersection of Pilot Street and Melrose Avenue. 

Patel died at the scene. The women were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

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