Son arrested in murder of parents

Published 10:47 am Monday, June 6, 2016

VINITA, OK – Bertie County Sheriff John Holley has announced the arrest of a suspect in the grisly murder of a Merry Hill couple on Tuesday.

On Thursday, June 2, at approximately 3 a.m. Christopher Lawrence Rouson, 23, was arrested in Oklahoma by the Vinita Police Department for the murders of James and Anna Rouson, his father and stepmother.

Christopher Rouson

Christopher Rouson

Vinita is a small community in northeastern Oklahoma, approximately 51 miles northeast of Tulsa, off Interstate-44.

It was the actions of an observant convenience store clerk in Vinita that tipped off police to check out a suspicious person in the pre-dawn hours on Thursday, which led to Rouson’s capture.

Rouson was taken into custody by Vinita Police Officer Brad Males around 3 a.m. after the officer found him walking around a local Vinita Dodge auto dealership. This information, contained in a Vinita Police Department report, is courtesy of the Vinita Daily Journal upon request by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Rouson had stopped by Shout & Sack, a local Oklahoma convenience store chain, parked his silver SUV Chevy Traverse in the back, removing the license tag and placing it under a tire. He told the Shout & Sack clerk, Wayne Bowman, that he was going to get his money out of his vehicle.

When he left the store, Bowman called police to check him out, saying he had a “strange feeling about the guy.”

Police located his vehicle and its license tag, which was already on NCIC (National Crime Information Center) alerts for the Bertie County warrant for Rouson’s arrest.

The vehicle is registered to Anna Rouson, according to Sheriff Holley.

According to police reports available early Thursday, Rouson was arrested by Officer Males without incident and taken to Craig County Jail, where he awaits extradition to North Carolina.

Vinita Police Chief Bobby Floyd reported that officers found a 12­gauge shotgun in the vehicle. It is not known if this is the murder weapon because the Bertie Sheriff’s Office has not yet revealed how Mr. and Mrs. Rouson were murdered.

The elder Rousons were found dead in their home by neighbors on May 31.

Through the ensuing investigation, the younger Rouson was developed as a suspect in the homicides and warrants were issued for his arrest on Wednesday, June 1.

The younger Rouson lived with his parents, but Bertie deputies say he was not at the residence when the Rouson’s bodies were discovered.

Rouson has had some minor run-ins with law enforcement in the past. A check on his record shows he spent 45 days incarcerated earlier this year for assault on female, resisting officer and misuse of 911 system charges. He also has a couple of driving-while-impaired (DWI) convictions.

According to the Bertie Sheriff, the investigation into the homicides is continuing.

Agencies assisting in the investigation included: Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the FBI’s Tulsa Oklahoma Field Office, the NC SBI Fugitive and Missing Person Task Force and the Vinita Police Department.

Angela Thomason of the Vinita (OK) Daily Journal assisted with this story.