The fatal shooting case of 19-year-old Cobey Etherington is finally moving forward after nearly two years without an arrest.
A Clark County grand jury indicted Roger Lanier, 22, on charges of murder, aggravated robbery and having weapons under disability in Etherington’s death.
The teen was shot and killed in a car on West Mulberry Street on Feb. 19, 2018.
The news came as a breath of fresh air to Etherington’s grandmother, Linda Neville, who has been looking for justice for her family since Etherington was killed.
“You think they’re forgetting about it, but they’re working on it,” she said. “I was really impressed by what they had to say — that they’re not going to give up on it. That made me feel good to think he didn’t die in vain.”
Neville said two years may seem like a short amount of time but some days — it’s felt more like an eternity.
She treasures Etherington’s cell phone that he left behind and the countless pictures of him throughout her home that she shares with Etherington’s younger brother, Kellen.
“It’s been a long two years… you just miss him so much,” she said. “You just wish you could touch him.”
The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office said the indictment is a major step, but there is still a long road ahead.
“We’ve got to see it through ‘til the end for this family,” said Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll.
Driscoll said the man indicted is someone familiar to his office. Lanier assisted the prosecutor’s office on a previous homicide case by giving them information, but Driscoll said he’s also known to them because of his own criminal activity.
Lanier is serving a seven-year prison sentence at Ross Correctional Institution for two counts of having weapons under disability, receiving stolen property and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle from a different incident in 2018.
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He’ll be returned to Clark County to answer to the new charges against him.
Driscoll said the break in the case is due in part to a decrease in violent crime recently. In 2017, there were 12 homicide victims in Springfield. In 2018, the year Etherington was killed, 13.
But in 2019, there were two homicide victims.
“The time that the detectives have to work on a case is very limited and when you have one homicide case after another, it becomes very difficult for them to put the kind of time in that they need during a case,” Driscoll said.
But he added Springfield Police Division detectives have never stopped working on Etherington’s case, and he is hopeful the prosecutor’s office will be able to see the case until its end.
Lanier’s first time before Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Douglas Rastatter is set for 10:00 a.m. on Friday.
Etherington’s family is working to plan a memorial to mark the two-year anniversary of his death.
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