VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach man accused of murdering a woman last October and putting her body in a toolbox in a backyard appeared in court last Friday.
A second-degree murder charge against 35-year-old Hagen Lawrence Roberts was certified to a grand jury Friday, moving the case to Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
Roberts was detained shortly after police found the body of 63-year-old Cynthia Sue Capps in the 1200 block of Green Cedar Lane around 7:45 p.m. Oct. 8. Police say both were listed as residents of the same address.
Police originally labeled the case a suspicious death, but later took out the murder charge against Roberts.
“It was like police surrounding everywhere, they were in the back with the dogs and looking all in the swamp. We came out here and they confronted us and asked if we heard anybody arguing and we were like ‘no.’ That’s when we heard what happened,” recalled one neighbor.
Family members say last fall, Capps and her loving husband, Jorge Gonzalez, lived in one of the homes off Green Cedar Lane in Virginia Beach.
Jeff Sines, who lives across the street, says he and Capps connected through their green thumbs.
“She would always come over and say nice things about the plants we talked about gardening,” said Sines.
Cynthia’s brother says the couple rented out two rooms in the townhouse to make ends meet.
One of those renters was Roberts.
Court documents say Gonzalez called police on Oct. 8 to report Capps missing. After getting his permission, officers went inside to check on her.
Paperwork says when they got inside, they found the room Roberts was renting with the door locked.
Court documents say an officer noticed smeared blood on the door to Roberts’ room and officers forced entry into the bedroom.
There, they located Roberts with blood on his pants, socks, and two lacerations on his hands.
Detectives continued their search of the home, which led them to the backyard. Documents say an officer found a toolbox out in the backyard in a pool of blood and inside of that box, was Capps’ body.
Documents say she had cuts on her face.
Paperwork says Roberts told police “you got me” while he was in the police car and also mentions the defendant quoted, “Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit.”
“I seen him three times in total since he stayed there and just the vibe about him just threw me off,” said one neighbor, who didn’t want to be on camera.
Capps’ family says they want justice and are looking to see the case all the way through.
Family sent 10 On Your Side this statement but did not want to interfere with the investigation:
“Cynthia was a lifelong resident of the Virginia Beach-Chesapeake area, a graduate of Indian River High School, served in the U.S. Air Force, attended Virginia Beach Community College and ODU. She was the mother of one adult daughter and grandmother to several grandchildren. She was a beloved friend and coworker in the Virginia Beach area hospitality industry and teaching assistant in Virginia Beach Schools. She was married to her loving spouse, Jorge Gonzalez, a construction worker. “
“My heart goes out to them and thought and prayers are definitely with them on that,” said Sines.
Roberts’ case is being heard by a grand jury on Monday, April 5.
General District Court motion paperwork says he was found to be competent for court proceedings.
Roberts is currently in jail without bond and documents say he had a prior criminal record of two felony charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana in 2011 and 2012.