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updated: 1/27/2012 5:26 AM

Man in Arlington Heights murder-suicide had violent past

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  • Authorities confirmed Thursday that the shooting deaths of an Arlington Heights couple found dead in their homes this week were the result of a murder-suicide. Police said Roger D. James shot his wife, Angelita James, multiple times with a shotgun before turning the weapon on himself.

       Authorities confirmed Thursday that the shooting deaths of an Arlington Heights couple found dead in their homes this week were the result of a murder-suicide. Police said Roger D. James shot his wife, Angelita James, multiple times with a shotgun before turning the weapon on himself.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Roger D. James shot his wife, Angelita James, multiple times with a shotgun and then turned the gun on himself, Arlington Heights police said Thursday after autopsies confirmed that the couple's weekend slayings were a result of a murder-suicide.

Officers conducting a well-being check requested by Angelita James' son found the couple dead Wednesday morning in their East Shady Way home.

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The Cook County Medical Examiner's office said Thursday both died from gunshot wounds. One of the shots suffered by Angelita James was in the face, said Arlington Heights police Sgt. Richard Kappelman.

Police believe the shootings occurred relatively close together early Sunday morning, though various witness reports indicated loud noises were heard from the residence late Saturday. Separate people reported seeing the couple Saturday, and a family member reported receiving a phone call from Roger James early Sunday morning, Kappelman said.

No one called authorities to report gunshots, police said.

"We've done at least three canvasses so far trying to locate additional witnesses." said Kappelman. "I would think a shotgun would be a distinct noise, but people said 'I don't know if I heard anything' or 'I thought I heard shouting.' We are having a hard time sorting through it." Kappelman said the department has run three records checks, but found no reports of police being called to the home on previous occasions.

Angelita James' son, Efren Galvan of Schaumburg, met police at the residence Wednesday morning, telling officers his mother had not shown up for work for the previous two days and couldn't be reached. The vehicles of both Angelita, 56, and Roger James, 48, were parked outside the home, police said.

Cook County court records show Roger James had a long history of domestic violence, dating back to a 1999 arrest on allegations he choked and pushed another woman with whom he'd been living in Des Plaines. James, record show, was sentenced to 30 days in the Cook County jail and probation for misdemeanor domestic battery and battery in that case.

In December 2001, he was charged with domestic battery against another woman with whom he was living in Northfield, records show. The charges alleged he tried to choke the woman and threw her onto a couch. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty and was prohibited from seeing the victim through an order of protection lasting two years.

Records show that in February 2003, James faced domestic battery and battery charges stemming from an altercation in Des Plaines that left his future wife, Angelita, with a bloody nose.

Four months later, according to court documents, he was charged with domestic battery again, this time on allegations to choke Angelita's son, Efren. At the time, records show, Roger and Angelita were living together.

In correspondence from Cook County's Adult Probation Department after the attack on Efren, Roger James reportedly asked for help with anger management and also was recommended for an outpatient program at Holy Family Hospital for people with alcohol use issues. Officials also suggested exploring methods or programs to help pay for his prescription of Depakote, a drug commonly used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, documents state.

Apart from battery and assault charges, Roger James was sentenced to community service and a year of conditional discharge after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor criminal damage to property charge in 2006.

In 2007, he was sentenced to three months of community discharge, another year of conditional discharge and an alcohol/drug evaluation after being convicted on charges of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.

James was a veteran of the Gulf War and commander of the Des Plaines American Legion Post 36. He suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, a friend said.

• Daily Herald staff writer Eric Peterson contributed to this story

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