Thursday, January 6, 2011

Satan and Roofless on Trial

Last month I wrote about the sad case of Yard Sale, a homeless man apparently beaten to death by two acquaintances known as Satan and Roofless, and his girlfriend Lucy Obarzanek. Now court proceedings have begun against the two alleged killers, and Bill McKelway of the Richmond Times Dispatch has more on the story:

A beating fueled by alcohol and anger apparently ended the life of a quixotic homeless man who rode the rails and died in the back of a burned-out Volkswagen bus.

In a hearing Tuesday that barely brushed the surface of the complex life of Robert Edward Dyck, who was known by the nickname Yard Sale, a Henrico County detective laid out how the man apparently died covered in pine tags and boards in the back of a bus. . . .

Satan and Roofless, who said they just wanted to scare Yard Sale, covered his unconscious body with wood to keep him warm. They are facing ten years in prison on manslaughter charges.

Dyck, 37, a former standout high school football player whose family lives in the West, has been homeless for years. He and Obarzanek traveled from New York to Richmond and had been camping out with other train jumpers near the Acca train yard near Hamilton Street. . . .

Watching the proceedings yesterday were two women who said they have known Gase for years and traveled the rails with him. They described as a gentle person who would never strike out at anyone without provocation.

"He'd had the name Satan since he was a kid growing up on the streets alone," said Abby Easley, a street artist, musician and train jumper whose work is visible online. "You wouldn't think that sort of thing happens in the world today, but it does."

"We're his only family. You could call me his daughter and Abby his wife," said Helen Moody, who throughout the hearing yesterday comforted Easley as the two stared at the backs of their handcuffed friends in court.

An obituary for Yard Sale in his hometown newspaper (Albuquerque, New Mexico) sums up his life like this:

His obituary sums up a difficult but hardly joyless past: "He seemed to enjoy living life to the fullest and doing it on his own terms."

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