Royster’s plea came before Judge Bob Conley, who denied defense attorney Jimmy Lyon Jr.’s motion to lower the defendant’s bond. The judge said the seriousness of the charges against Royster negated any lowering of the bond.
He set March 3 for a pre-trial hearing and Royster was returned to the Greenup County Detention Center, his bond remaining at $600,000, cash only.
Royster, from Garrison, in Lewis County, was indicted Dec. 16 by a Greenup County grand jury on two counts of capital murder and one count of first-degree arson in the deaths of Jeffrey Long, 45, and Pamela Willis, 21.
They died when Long’s mobile home burned to the ground about 4:15 a.m. Feb. 23, 2008. The home was on Leatherwood Road, near the Greenup-Lewis county line.
The indictment charges that Royster intentionally set fire to the home.
He stands to face the death penalty if convicted.
Investigators haven’t revealed a motive or said what Royster’s connection was to the two.
The mobile home was destroyed by the time firefighters from the Little Sandy and Load volunteer fire departments arrived. The fire had been so intense that evidence was difficult to gather, but investigators were able to rule out as causes a kerosene heater and a wood-burning stove.
They determined the fire started in two places.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached
at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236, or