Man Charged in Road Rage Killing of High School Grad - NBC Bay Area
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Man Charged in Road Rage Killing of High School Grad

His preliminary hearing is set for July 13

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    David Desper, 28, turned himself in Sunday and was charged in the road rage murder of 18-year-old Bianca Roberson. NBC10's Lauren Mayk walks us through the arrest and what's next for the suspect.

    (Published Sunday, July 2, 2017)

    After a dramatic manhunt that lasted several days and spanned multiple states, Chester County, Pennsylvania, authorities have charged David Andrew Desper, 28, with first-degree murder for the road rage killing of recent high school graduate Bianca Roberson.

    Desper, of Trainer, Pennsylvania, turned himself in Sunday morning around 2 a.m., officials said.

    Police recovered the defendant’s red pickup truck at a location in Delaware County and Desper’s firearm from his bedroom. He has a license to carry and purchased the gun legally, according to court documents.

    He was also charged with third-degree murder, criminal homicide, recklessly endangering another person and possession of an instrument of crime with intent to use it criminally. 

    Desper is being held at Chester County Prison without bail, and his preliminary hearing is set for July 13.

    Photo credit: West Goshen Township Police

    Roberson's parents sat quietly in the room, sobbing, while officials announced the arrest. They lost another child, an adult son, four years ago to heart disease.

    On June 28, Desper and Roberson played what investigators previously called a game of "cat and mouse" while attempting to merge into the same lane on Route 100 in Chester County around 5:30 p.m., officials said. Roberson was heading home from a shopping trip. She would have left for college later this summer.

    Instead, she was shot in the left side of the head in an apparent road rage attack.

    Her car was found in a ditch. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

    "This is a story of a savage and senseless murder," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said during a news conference Sunday.

    The shooter’s car fled the scene "at a high rate of speed on the shoulder of the spur before eventually crossing traffic and continuing southbound on the shoulder of Route 202," charging documents said.

    A witness described hearing a loud noise and then seeing one car, which belonged to Roberson, swerving off the road while another sped away, officials said.

    A portion of the round that struck Roberson was recovered from her skull during an autopsy. The bullet’s markings indicated it came from a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. 

    A similar firearm was recovered from Desper's bedroom after he turned himself in to police. Ammunition was found in a nearby trashcan. Desper reportedly purchased the weapon in November of 2015, according to charging documents.

    Using video surveillance from the scene and later recordings of a red pickup truck, police recovered Desper’s car in Glen Mills. It matched the description of the pickup seen moments after the incident. 

    Desper's attorney was not available for comment. Roberson's family declined to comment, but previously told NBC10 the death of their daughter is "surreal."

    "How can you just shoot a baby, an 18-year-old girl, on her way to college and then just speed off like it was nothing? She didn't deserve to die like this," Roberson's mother, Michelle, said.

    Roberson's aunt Joyce Chester said she remains heartbroken but relieved that an arrest was made.

    "We just had the graduation for the school and the kids were so full of hope. Hope and excitement," Chester said. "I said, 'Are they ever going to get this truck and this guy?' And my friend said, 'They're going to get him. They're going to get him. They'll get the truck and they'll get the guy.' I said, 'How do you know?' He said, 'They just will.'"

    Desper's neighbor Gerry Szper told NBC10 he heard about Roberson's murder but was shocked the suspect lived so close to home.

    "It's just crazy," he said. "I just don't know. I'm shocked."