MERCER COUNTY, Ohio (WANE) – One of the men found to have been involved in a brutal 2011 double-homicide was sentenced to life without parole on Tuesday. Bryant Rhoades is one of two found responsible for the November 2011 murders of Robert and Colleen Grube in rural Fort Recovery.
Rhoades was arrested in March 2013. He was initially charged with obstruction of justice for giving false information. He pleaded not guilty to those charges in April 2013. In June 2013, he was charged with murder after detectives learned more about the gruesome incident from the other murder suspect.
On July 15, 2014, NewsChannel 15 reported that Rhoades withdrew his guilty plea to murder, backing out of the plea deal that spared him the death sentence. At that same time, he was sentenced to 36 months behind bars for obstructing justice. On Tuesday, Rhoades re-entered his guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated burglary. Rhoades used an Alford guilty plea, to avoid getting the death penalty. He was sentenced immediately following the re-entry of his guilty plea.
His charges include two counts of life with out parole, one count for gun specifications, serving an additional three years, two counts of aggravated robbery, serving an additional 11 years each and one county of aggravated burglary, serving an additional 11 years.
A three judge panel heard several emotional testimonies from the victims’ family members, referring to Robert as the glue that held the family together, was kind to strangers and saw the glass half full. They stated that Robert and Colleen were their family’s biggest cheerleaders and never missed a family moment.
Rhoades spoke to the courtroom, stating that he was innocent and wasn’t even present at the time of the Grube murders. He apologized to the family for their loss and to the courtroom for telling a made-up story previously.
Trevin M.A. Sanders Roark also pleaded guilty to murder for the deaths of the Grubes. Sanders Roark was 17 when the two were killed but the court determined that he would be tried in adult court. In February, Sanders Roark pleaded guilty to the same charges Rhoades did: two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of robbery and two counts of aggravated burglary.
Despite the fact that Sanders Roark was tried in adult court, he cannot face the death penalty because he was a minor at the time of the murder. According to previous communication with the the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, he could face life in prison without parole.
No sentencing date has been set for Sanders Roark.
In June 2013, Sanders Roark reportedly admitted to shooting and killing Colleen Grube while high on meth. Officials said Sanders told them he and three others were high on meth and wanted to steal pills, electronics, and jewelry from the Grube’s. He said that he shot Colleen Grube with her father’s long gun and that Rhoades then shot Robert Grube.
In a call to the Mercer County Courthouse on Tuesday, an employee said that there is no sentencing scheduled for Sanders Roark. It was initially scheduled for July 2014 but has been delayed.
November 2011 killings
On November 30, 2011, Cassandra Grube found her father-in-law Robert, 70 and her sister-in-law, Colleen, 47, bound by duct tape and dead from gunshot wounds when she went to check on them at 9:00 am at their home at 2216 Burrville Road.
Officials determined that Colleen was last seen alive shortly after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Colleen and Robert were found about 16 hours later.
Investigators narrowed the time of the incident to a two hour window.
There was also a laptop computer missing from the scene.
In September of 2012, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department announced it was offering a $20,000 reward, up from an initial $10,000 offer, for information that would lead to a conviction in the case. It’s not known if a tip led police to the suspects or if the arrests were made based on the nearly 200 pieces of evidence they had gathered.
Authorities had previously indicated that they believed two or more people and possibly a man and a woman had committed the crimes.
Sheriff Grey told NewsChannel 15 in March 2013 that in the 16 months since the crime, the case had never been cold. There were 179 court ordered subpoenas and search warrants, 329 interviews, and 88 tips.