Prison guard charged with first-degree murder denied bond

Stephen Igo • May 15, 2007 at 12:09 PM

WISE - A Red Onion State Prison corrections officer charged with first-degree murder was ordered to remain lodged at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail without bond until at least a June 15 preliminary hearing.

Alice Foster, 43, 802 Front St., Coeburn, is accused in the shooting death of 39-year-old Roy Lee Gary, a former inmate at Red Onion slain in Foster's home on Friday. Authorities say Gary was struck once in the chest by a round fired from a .357-caliber handgun.

On Monday, Wise County General District Court Judge Chadwick Dotson denied bond for Foster pending next month's preliminary hearing, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Foster told Dotson she planned to hire her own attorney rather than have one appointed by the court.

Foster told authorities Friday that she shot Gary after he broke into her home. Investigators are skeptical of Foster's account of what occurred in her home. Coeburn Police Chief Willie Stout said Saturday they believe Gary was killed a period of time before the shooting was reported about 2 p.m. Friday and that Foster's statement does not match forensic evidence at the scene.

Stout was among the first to respond to Foster's residence. After receiving the first call, and en route to the residence, he said the dispatcher informed officers the complainant at the residence was also reporting a breaking and entering.

On Saturday, Stout said authorities were trying to work out the nature of an alleged relationship between Foster and Gary. He said Gary, a native of Maryland, was paroled from Red Onion in late 2005 after serving time for grand larceny and began living in Coeburn. Investigators believe Foster and Gary maintained an acquaintance in some fashion that may have started while he was incarcerated at the prison facility near Pound.

"Since he was paroled, he has been living in Coeburn," Stout said Saturday. "We found evidence over the course of (Friday) 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."

Foster was the subject of an ongoing internal investigation by the Virginia Department of Corrections into whether Foster violated agency regulations about fraternizing with inmates or former inmates, Stout said. Gary was still under the auspices of state corrections officials while on parole.

Originally from Texas, Stout said Foster married a Coeburn native when her husband lived and worked in Texas. Both worked as corrections officers in Texas before moving to Wise County seven or eight years ago, he said, to assume similar employment with the Virginia prison system. He said the couple, who have a 7-year-old daughter, separated late last year.

Stout said Foster also has two grown daughters. One of her daughters was living with her mother at 802 Front St. with her own two children, Stout said. Stout did not say if Foster's daughter or grandchildren were present at the time of the shooting.

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