Murder suspect who had crane standoff will fight extradition

Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 11:45 p.m.
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Carl Edward Roland, 41, left, is escorted into Fulton County Superior Court in Georgia by Deputy Y. Culler, right, for a hearing to discuss his return to Pinellas County, Fla., where he is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend.

(AP Photo/Ric Feld)
ATLANTA - A Florida murder suspect who perched atop a construction crane for 56 hours said Tuesday he will fight extradition back to the state where he is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend.
Carl Edward Roland, 41, was in Fulton County Superior Court for a hearing to discuss his return to Pinellas County, Fla., where he is charged with strangling Jennifer Gonzalez. The 36-year-old's body was found in a retention pond behind her Oldsmar apartment May 24, the day before Roland climbed the crane.
Judge Richard Hicks set a new hearing in the case for July 11. Roland will wait in an Atlanta jail while Florida officials send an extradition warrant for him. A hearing could happen earlier, depending on when Georgia officials receive the Florida warrant, Hicks said. The process could take at least a month.
Roland, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, was brought into court in shackles. He spoke only once during the brief hearing to say he wanted the warrant instead of waiving the extradition process.
His public defender, Michelle Homier, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Tuesday.
Atlanta police ended the standoff by shocking Roland with a stun gun as he crawled toward an officer for a cup of water early Saturday, after spending more than 56 hours on the construction crane above the city's Buckhead neighborhood. He was lowered to the ground from the 350-foot crane and transported to a hospital where he stayed for nearly two days.
Roland's standoff has led to additional charges of criminal trespassing, reckless conduct and first-degree criminal damage to property in Atlanta.
Another crane climber was arrested in Atlanta on Monday. Thomas Eugene Robinson scaled a crane in the same section of the city as Roland's standoff, authorities said. However, Robinson, 26, came down from his crane early Tuesday, police said.
''He was lured down with doughnuts and cigarettes,'' police spokeswoman Marion Lee said. He was arrested on charges of criminal trespass and reckless conduct, she said.
Robinson was probably inspired by Roland's crane standoff but also has mental health problems, telling police that demons and the government were after him, Lee said.
''He definitely did have some mental concerns,'' she said.

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