Two cellphone calls were placed from the phone of a Weston man accused of being involved in the murder of 29-year-old Joshua Oberg on the day of his death to the man police say paid for Oberg to be killed.
West Virginia state trooper Roy Moss testified in a preliminary hearing for Rodolpho Correa Villagomez, 32, of Buckhannon, that on Jan. 23, a call from the cellphone belonging to Robert Eugene Siron III, 30, was placed to Villagomez' phone at 11:13 a.m. and again shortly after 11 p.m. Both calls lasted less than one minute. Jan. 23 was the last reported sighting of Oberg, and that came at a local convenience store where Oberg was with both Siron and Jesse Lee Heater, 28, of Buckhannon.
Moss said his investigation revealed that Villagomez offered the two men $5,000 to kill Oberg after Villagomez learned that Oberg had become romantically involved with Villagomez' wife. Moss said the affair was confirmed by the involved parties. A confidential informant told police officers that he/she had been a witness to Villagomez threatening Oberg, saying if he learned of an affair "I will kill you and your body will never be found."
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
Family and friends of Luke Stout demonstrate outside the Upshur County Courthouse Thursday prior to the preliminary hearing of Rodolpho Correa Villagomez in Magistrate Court. Villagomez is charged with paying two men to kill 29-year-old Joshua Oberg. Stout was reported missing July 18, and investigators are looking into the possibility that Stout’s disappearance may be linked to Oberg’s death.
Defense attorney Russell Stobbs said there was no way to know who placed what calls to whom, only that the calls were to and from phones belonging to Villagomez and Siron. He also argued there was no way to know the contents of the conversations.
Authorities unearthed Oberg's body from a shallow grave along Bull Run Road in Upshur County on July 23. Villagomez, Heater and Siron were all taken into custody within two days. Heater and Siron are being held in separate regional jails without bond on first-degree murder charges.
Villagomez is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail without bond on a charge of being an accessory before the fact to first-degree murder.
Siron claimed in his statement to police following his arrest that he did not know of Heater's intent to kill Oberg on a night the three of them went out drinking. In that statement, Siron claimed that he and Heater went to the restaurant in the days following Oberg's death where Villagomez worked, and that Heater was given an envelope by Villagomez. Siron and Heater left the restaurant, and Heater later gave Siron $500 "to keep his mouth shut," West Virginia State Police Sgt. Mike Garrett testified.
Siron also claimed that Heater pointed a gun at him after shooting and stabbing Oberg, telling Siron to keep quiet about that night's events. Investigators could not pinpoint the amount of money in the envelope.
Stobbs argued that Heater had previously worked for Villagomez, adding that the money could have been something already owed to Heater.
He said it would only be speculation to say the money was a payment for the alleged murder.
Family members and friends of Luke Stout packed the Upshur County Magistrate Court for the hearing, including Stout's mother who stood on her mobility device throughout most of the hour-long hearing. Stout was reported missing on July 18, and police have been told there is a connection between Stout's disappearance and Oberg's death.
Those same people were picketing outside the Upshur County Courthouse prior to and immediately after Villagomez' hearing.
Magistrate Juanita Adams ruled there is enough evidence in the case to warrant further proceedings in circuit court.
The next term of the Upshur County grand jury begins Sept. 10.
Contact John Wickline by email at email@example.com.