Friday, February 14, 2014

Murder LA 000042

Scott Roston
via NY Daily News
Scott Roston spent the week before Valentine's Day 1988 on a honeymoon cruise to Mexico.

He spent Valentine's Day itself in a jail cell.

The 36 year old eloped with Karen Waltz on February 4th, with nuptial vows made in Vegas. Rather than spending their wedding night in Sin City, the newlyweds made it back home to Santa Monica in time for Scott to watch Star Trek, according to his roommate.

Scott's source of income is unclear; he graduated from a chiropractic school but wasn't licensed in California nor in Florida, where he lived when he met Karen 18 months prior. The only stated money was a $65,000 settlement for slipping on a banana in a New Jersey Mall, because Scott Roston was apparently part Cartoon-American.

Anyway, he somehow won a cruise, so on February 6th they departed from Long Beach aboard the MS Stardancer, which is now known as the MS Island Escape.

On Saturday, February 13th, around 2am, Scott went to the bridge and the first thing he did, according to the attorney representing the cruise line, was ask to use the bathroom. He left the door open, so the staff captain saw that the only thing he did was wash his face. Assuming the literalness of the "first thing he did" statement, he must have afterwards reported that while jogging on the ship's rubberized track, his wife was blown over the 4ft railing by the wind.

The crew found this odd, not just because of the scratches on Scott's face but also because, as the Coast Guard would later recount, the wind was 6 mph at the time. One of the other passengers on the trip was a law enforcement officer from Chicago who, on a stroll, found one of Karen's earrings and some of her hair on the track.

via The Palm Beach Post
Witnesses said that the couple had argued over Karen snacking on sweets and not knowing what silverware to use at dinner. Reportedly a slice of pie can be seen next to the bed in a photo of their cabin taken shortly after her death.

Karen's body was found floating in the Pacific Ocean less than 12 hours later.

On Tuesday, February 16th, Scott changed his story, claiming that Israeli agents had killed his wife. His earlier story was the result of having been drugged by those agents.

This was supposedly all due to a book he had written, Nightmare In Israel, in which he claimed that he and his father were lured to Israel by a politician's false promises, then he was blackmailed and forced by the Israeli mafia to rob an elderly Hungarian woman. This led to his arrest and placement in a mental institution where he was routinely tortured. Eventually he was released and wrote his book after returning to America. He couldn't find a publisher, so he paid Vantage Press to print 1,000 copies. A publicist for the publisher said only 10 or 20 copies were sold.

According to Scott and his parents, this was enough for the Israeli government to quickly send agents in a white van to abduct him from a Florida mall. Come to think of it, he should really stay away from malls. Luckily, he had a gun in his car so he was able to overcome the highly skilled assailants. He reported the incident to the police, and the detective who investigated the claim felt it was a publicity stunt to sell the book.

Somehow the jury was not unconvinced of this international intrigue, and Scott Roston was found guilty of second degree murder and was initially sentenced to life in prison. Due to some technicalities the sentence was revisited in 1994, and he was resentenced to 33 years.

The Island Escape, then known as the Stardancer