Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles, Kyle Roider ambled into a Monroe County courtroom Monday morning with two words to say about a crime that has a community reeling.
“Not guilty,” he told Judge Dennis Doyle when asked to answer to charges of first degree murder and aggravated battery.
Roider, 30, stands accused of the shooting death of 35-year-old Steven P. Becker in Roider’s Waterloo home at 107 North Church Street.
Just over a block away, as Winter Storm Gia began to make her presence felt in Waterloo with a wet, heavy snowfall coming faster by the minute, Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann received a phone call at 3:30 p.m. Friday, just as the courthouse was closing early due to the weather.
“Don’t pack up just yet,” he was told by a Waterloo police officer. “We have a homicide.”
Police had been called to Roider’s house shortly after 3 p.m. Friday by a mutual acquaintance of Roider and Becker. There, they found Becker unresponsive in the basement. A short time later, Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill conducted a death investigation and pronounced Becker’s death a homicide.
A Sunday autopsy confirmed the cause of death was a gunshot to the head. Becker was also shot once in the leg.
Roider was arrested later that night at the Millstadt home of an acquaintance and made his first court appearance Monday morning.
Becker, 35, of Fults, worked at Becker Farm & Industrial Supplies in East St. Louis as a salesman and maintenance worker.
“He loved Jesus and God with all his heart. He was a loving father,” his obituary states.
Becker is survived by parents James and Claudine Becker, daughter Makayla Sauer, plus other relatives and friends.
Waterloo police are being assisted in the investigation by the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Columbia Police Department. Millstadt police and the St. Clair County Special Response Team provided assistance with apprehending Roider on Lexington Drive in Millstadt. He gave himself up voluntarily.
“Columbia and the (Monroe County) Sheriff’s Department lent investigators and they continue to assist with the ongoing investigation,” Hitzemann said.
Becker was last seen early last Wednesday, and police believe he was killed sometime that day, according to Hitzemann.
“We’re hoping there may be some video evidence pulled from a couple different sources” to help determine a more precise time of death, Hitzemann said.
Eric Zaber of the Waterloo Police Department, who helped investigate the case, said police do not believe anyone else lived at the Church Street address other than Roider. Zaber could not comment, however, on whether or not others were present during the shooting.
Roider has a criminal history in both Illinois and Tennessee that includes more than 20 misdemeanor arrests and citations, including 17 in Monroe County since 2006. They were overwhelmingly for traffic offenses and cannabis possession, and most of them were either dismissed or he received court supervision.
He doesn’t have any prior felony convictions.
Hitzemann would not comment at this time on a possible motive associated with this case or as to whether the firearm used in Becker’s death was recovered.
If convicted of first degree murder, Roider would not be eligible for probation. The mandatory sentence of 20-60 years must be served in its entirety. Because Roider is charged with a death resulting from the discharge of a firearm, there is an additional charge of 25 years to life in prison, which must be served consecutive to any other sentence.
The charge of aggravated battery is also non-probationable and carries a sentence of six to 30 years, 85 percent of which must be served.
“At this point I haven’t filed any other charges against any additional parties,” Hitzemann said. “But the investigation may lead to the filing of additional charges.”
Roider, who is being represented by attorney TJ Matthes from the St. Louis law firm of Rosenblum, Schwartz & Fry, is being held without bond in the Monroe County Jail in Waterloo. His next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 7.
“We look forward to defending Kyle against these accusations,” Matthes told the Republic-Times. “Unfortunately I can’t comment further at this time since it’s a pending case and ongoing investigation.”
There will be a visitation for Becker from 3-8 p.m. Friday at Quernheim Funeral Home in Waterloo.
A fund to benefit Becker’s daughter has been created at State Bank of Waterloo. To read Becker’s obituary, click here.
A light at the front door of Roider’s unoccupied residence still illuminates. The community hopes more light is shed on this tragedy in the weeks to come.