Kermit Residents React to Roberts' Verdict

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

KERMIT - The guilty verdict placed upon now former Sheriff Robert Roberts has left many Kermit residents on different sides.

Many citizens wouldn't go on camera because they knew Roberts growing up, but told us they are in shock at the sentence and don't believe he did was he was convicted of.

Many other citizens who would only speak off-camera said justice had been served and that Roberts got what he deserved.

The Winkler County Sheriff's Department, Winkler County Memorial Hospital and Kermit Police all declined to comment.

For those who knew Roberts for years said the charges against him were completely unlike him.

"I've known him at least 15 years," Della Shackelford, a bookkeeper for Robison, Johnston, and Patton in Kermit, said. "I've never known him to be unprofessional. I have never known him to play favorites or to be prejudiced in anyone's favor. I find that hard to believe that he wouldn't be fair."

They expressed shock and disappointment now that Roberts had been stripped of his title and is set to serve jail time.

"I've never known him to ever, ever be unprofessional or biased in any way towards anyone whether he liked you or not," Shackelford said. "He did his job. I'm shocked, and frankly I'm a little disappointed. I'm a little disappointed that it came down to that, to a guilty verdict. I just can't fathom it."

But for residents in favor of the sentence, including the President of the Board at Winkler County Memorial Hospital, who had been pursuing the defense of the two nurses there since 2009, said they believe Roberts should serve a harder sentence.

"Finally, justice is getting done," Stefanie Haley, President of the Hospital Board, said. "It's been going on so long, and no justice. I would actually like to see Robert Roberts have to spend a little more time in jail than a abbreviated 100 sentence."

What the Winkler County Sheriff's Department did tell NewsWest 9 they're focused on moving forward and that there will be a running for the new Sheriff.

The upcoming trials will be for Winkler County Attorney Scott Tidwell and Dr. Rolando Arafiles.

"I hope the other two are also found guilty on all charges because they are guilty," Haley said. "And I think they will be."

Haley told NewsWest 9 that Winkler County Memorial Hospital will be hosting an open house on June 20th, where the hospital's new doctor and administrator will be present.