Rogel Suero, suspect on trial, denies role in robbery, killing of girlfriend's grandmother

Posted: 9:57 AM EST Dec 24, 2013   Updated: 5:40 PM EDT Oct 04, 2013
Rogel Suero

The defense has rested in the case of a couple accused of pulling off a robbery that resulted in the death of the woman's grandmother.

Both the granddaughter, Rebecca Johnson, and her boyfriend, Rogel Suero, said they had nothing to do with the crime.

Suero was the only witness for the defense. He said he doesn't remember where he was, but he claimed he was never at Carrie Smith's home in Wilson, Northampton Co., and has no idea why he is facing a homicide charge.

Suero, 31, said he was confused and in disbelief when he found out there was a warrant for his arrest in connection with the robbery and subsequent death of Smith, 76.

The prosecution said Johnson planned the January 2012 robbery and Suero and an unidentified man carried it out, while a fourth man, Johnson's cousin, served as the getaway driver.

During the robbery, Smith, who had serious health problems, suffered a heart attack. She died two months later.

When asked by his lawyer during his testimony if he was involved in the robbery, Suero replied, "Absolutely not."

Suero, who is a Venezuelan immigrant, said when he found out he was going to be arrested, he panicked. He said he feared he was going to be deported, so he fled to Texas, where he was arrested several months later.

During testimony Friday, his attorney, Phil Lauer, questioned witnesses about statements made by Smith about the robbery.

Smith reportedly told police she thought one of the robbers had white skin on his arm and that their voices seemed what she characterized as "Caucasian."

Suero is dark-skinned and spoke with an accent during testimony.

Johnson chose not to testify in her defense. Several people testified she was talking about robbing her grandmother prior to the incident.

Closing arguments will be presented Monday morning.