Anthony Milam testified Thursday that he went to Larry Dean Roberson’s home in southern Stafford about midday Nov. 25 to pick up his friend for what was expected to be a routine trip to the county dump.

Milam was soon shocked to find out that Roberson wouldn’t be going to the dump or any place else with him.

Roberson, 54, was dead in the living room of his home on Newton Road in the White Oak area, the victim of blunt trauma to the head. A second-degree murder charge against the man accused of killing him, 43-year-old Matthew David Roberson, was sent to a Stafford grand jury following a preliminary hearing Thursday in Stafford General District Court.

The two men had distant family ties through marriage, but were not directly related, family members of the victim said.

According to court records and evidence presented Thursday by prosecutors Michael Hardiman and Philip Chichester, Larry Roberson had a severe head wound and his cellphone and wallet were missing when police arrived at his home.

Detective Kurt McBride said police were later able to trace the phone to various places, including Washington Square Plaza in southern Stafford, an apartment complex on Cowan Boulevard in Fredericksburg and Walmart in Central Park.

Court records show that the victim’s phone was taken from his home about two hours before his body was discovered. The victim’s bank records showed that three unsuccessful ATM withdrawals occurred at the Sheetz next to Washington Square at 10:08 that morning and a successful purchase was made at the store four minutes later. Another purchase using the victim’s card was made in Central Park at 11:17 a.m.

McBride said surveillance footage obtained from the stores led to police identifying Matthew Roberson as the suspect. He was taken into custody Nov. 30 at a home in the 3700 block of Friar Road in Spotsylvania County.

McBride said that Matthew Roberson initially denied having anything to do with the slaying. But he later admitted attacking the victim with a baseball bat as he was sleeping in a recliner, McBride testified.

According to McBride, he then took the victim's wallet and began using the cards he found in it.

McBride said Matthew Roberson offered a strange explanation for the attack that involved a paranormal event he’d seen on a television show set in the 1800s he watched the night before.

There was also brief testimony Thursday suggesting that there was some sort of drug activity going on in the house before Larry Roberson’s death, but no details were given.

Matthew Roberson was also indicted Thursday by a King George County grand jury on four felony charges: burglary, grand larceny, larceny with the intent to sell and possessing a firearm as a felon.

King George Commonwealth’s Attorney Keri Gusmann said those charges stem from a break-in in King George on Nov. 26, the day after Larry Roberson was killed.

This story was updated to correct the relationship between the victim and defendant and the location of the crime. 

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404