On the morning of October 5th, 2007, emergency dispatch received a panicked 911 call from Michael David Roye, who went by David. He said he found his girlfriend, twenty-six-year-old Casey Morgan found dead. Upon arrival, police followed sounds to the bedroom where they saw the woman lying on the floor covered in her own blood. Casey Morgan had been viciously stabbed to death and her throat was slit. Her young son lay nearby in his crib, with his mother’s blood on the crib. Who would commit such a heinous crime?
Casey Renee Morgan was born May 5th, 1981, in Belleville, Illinois. She grew up in Southern Illinois where she met the love of her life, Ron Burmester. In high school, Casey was involved in the drama club and was a part of several school performances. She had a group of close-knit friends in her community. After high school, Casey began to work at Spartan Light Metal Products in Sparta, Illinois.
She lived with her long-time boyfriend Ron in a small brick home in Steelville, Illinois. The two welcomed a son Auron around 2005 or 2006. “She was a loving caring mother” a neighbor told the Southern Illinoisan after her death (Krajelis, 2005). Casey was a happy person whose friends describe her as bubbly, funny, and a joy to be around. Her life was not without drama, however. She and Ron had a history of arguments that at times had involved the police. Ron and Casey had both called the cops on each other in the past related to domestic issues.
Just before 8 am on October 5th, 2007, authorities responded to the 911 call placed from Casey’s house. They found David Roye in the room along with Casey’s young son, who was still in the crib. Casey had been repeatedly stabbed and her throat slit. This was a very blood crime scene and the first murder in Steelville in decades. David explained that Casey asked him to come by in the morning. He said when he arrived, he heard the baby crying and went in to find the woman dead. He said he tried to help Casey, but when he realized she had no pulse he went to his truck to get his phone and called 911. David Roye said Casey was his girlfriend.
The problem was, Casey was living with and engaged to Ron. Ron was at work at the time Casey was found. Because of their tumultuous relationship, Ron was initially the prime suspect. Police were able to find video footage at a local convenience story that showed Ron had left the house hours before Casey had been murdered and his alibi was solid. Despite their history, he was ruled out as the murderer.
At this point, police focused on David Roye (pictured above). According to Casey’s friend, David was obsessed with Casey. Casey was in love with Ron, however, and had told David multiple times that they were never going to be in a relationship. David and Casey met at work, and there are pictures of the two in which they seem close. David claims they were dating, and Casey was afraid of Ron. Her friends, however, say she was afraid of David as he became increasingly obsessed with her.
A neighbor told investigators that he saw a white male leave early that morning in a green pick-up truck, which was similar to Roye’s. When police searched Roye’s vehicle, they found traces of blood inside (Vanapalli, 2021). Police then checked Roye’s phone records which showed that he made two calls prior to calling 911. One went unanswered, but the other was to his friend. He told this friend he just found Casey dead in her home. However, he didn’t call 911 until after he spoke with his friend (Murder in the Heartland, 2021).
A blood splatter analysis expert determined that Casey’s blood on David Roye’s clothing was in a pattern that indicated he must have been close by when Casey was murdered. This, along with the blood found in his vehicle, testimony of the neighbors, and the phone records was enough evidence to arrest Michael David Roye for the murder of Casey Morgan. After his arrest “rumors of a violent relationship between Roye and Morgan circulated around Randolph County” (Fascol, 2007).
Although the evidence was primary circumstantial, it was pretty damning. The prosecution painted a picture of David Roye as an obsessed and jealous man. They said he wanted Casey for himself, but Casey wanted to be with her fiancé and father of her son, Ron. The phone evidence, witnesses, and blood splatter evidence proved enough to convince a jury of his guilt. Michael David Roye was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to sixty years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
David Roye’s niece said on Murder in the Heartland, “There is no way he could do this. I know he is not guilty” (Murder in the Heartland, 2021). Michael David Roye’s family is currently working to prove his innocence and appeal his conviction. They believe Ron Burmester is to blame, but no evidence supports this theory. Roye will not be eligible for parole until 2067.
Murder in the Heartland (2021) Dangerous Obsession; Investigation Discovery
Vanapalli, V. (2021) Casey Morgan Murder: Where is Michael David Roye now?; Casey Morgan Murder: Where is Michael David Roye Now? Update (thecinemaholic.com)
IDOC (2021) Michael D. Roye; Individuals in Custody (illinois.gov)
Obituary (2007) Casey R. Morgan; Casey Morgan Obituary (2007) - STEELEVILLE, IL - The Southern Illinoisan (legacy.com)
Krajelis, B. (2007) Woman’s death investigated as homicide; Southern Illinoisan; 06 Oct 2007; Retrieved at: 06 Oct 2007, Page 1 - Southern Illinoisan at Newspapers.com
Krajelis, B. (2007) Roye claimed he called police after finding body; phone records differ; Southern Illinoisan; 6 Dec 2007
Fasol, T. (2007) Charges and bond increased in Steelville slaying; Southern Illinoisan; 10 Oct 2007