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Authorities questioning prison guard's account of ex-inmate's fatal shooting

Stephen Igo • May 13, 2007 at 12:12 PM

COEBURN - Authorities intend to ask a Wise County General District Court judge on Monday to deny bond for a female Red Onion State Prison corrections officer while investigators continue to probe Friday's shooting that left a former inmate dead in her home in Coeburn, town Police Chief Willie Stout said Saturday.

Alice Foster, 43, 802 Front St., was charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony Friday and lodged in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail facility without bond.

She is accused of slaying Roy Lee Gary, 39, originally of Maryland, inside her home with one shot from a .357-caliber handgun. Stout said Gary was shot in the chest.

Gary spent time at Red Onion on a grand larceny conviction.

Stout said a call was received shortly before 2 p.m. Friday reporting a shooting at Foster's residence.

"Right after that, dispatch told me there was also a breaking and entering at the residence," Stout said. "When I arrived, I found Alice Foster, owner of the residence. I also found Roy Lee Gary dead at the residence."

"She readily admits shooting Mr. Gary," Stout said. "As to the circumstances as to why that shooting happened, we're still investigating."

Preliminary investigative work indicates Gary was paroled in late 2005, Stout said, and that Foster was assigned to Red Onion at the same time Gary was an inmate there.

"Since he was paroled, he has been living in Coeburn," Stout said. "We found evidence over the course of last night that suggests they were having some sort of relationship. I won't speculate as to the nature of that relationship, but we're pretty confident they knew each other well and all that. Well enough that I don't think he broke into the house."

Stout said Foster was already the target of an ongoing internal Virginia Department of Corrections investigation. of whether Foster and Gary "may or may not have been having a relationship in prison or after, while he was on parole." He said agency rules apparently ban fraternization between corrections officers and inmates even after an inmate is released from prison on parole.

Stout said Foster is originally from Texas, and she married a Coeburn native in Texas. The two both worked as corrections officers in that state, he said.

The couple moved from Texas to Wise County seven or eight years ago and established a home in Coeburn, he said, but separated late last year. They have a 7-year old child, Stout said, and Foster has two grown children from a previous marriage.

One of Foster's adult daughters also resides at 802 Front St., Stout said, and is the mother of two small children.

Stout said investigators haven't determined if Foster's daughter and/or grandchildren were present during the shooting.

However, he said preliminary evidence leads investigators to believe Gary was shot some period of time before it was reported shortly before 2 p.m. Friday.

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