Updated: Feb 1
Drugs are a serious problem in America. The problem is no different in West Virginia, my home state. Every year it seems more and more poor, lost souls succumb to their addictions in overdoses. Luckily, many survive the experience and get the help they need to get better. Sadly, some don’t. Another large fraction of those struggling with addiction end up committing crimes, mostly petty. There are some that commit more than just petty crimes, though. There are some that either for drugs or because they’re too high to know what they’ve done, kill.
The woman I’m here to discuss in this post went way farther than anyone could imagine. Her crimes were beyond brutal and she deserves no less than the life sentence without possibilty of parole that she got. Unfortunately for our poor, sweet, unassuming victim, his father wasn’t much better than his killer. Though this case did recieve national attention, there was never any background information made public about the victim, killer, or the victim’s father. I’ll present the details I’ve found through my hours of scouring the internet trying to find better.
I can find no birthdays for any of the parties involved, but Roena Cheryl Mills of Rural Retreat, Virginia was 41-years-old at the time of the crime. She’d been a stripper working for Southern X-posure in Princeton, West Virginia when she first met James White. James was a trucker at the time and the two quickly began a sexual relationship. They were both heavily addicted to drugs and that’s what their relationship was mainly based around. After a years-long relationship between the two James, or Jimmy as he was also known, thought it was an awesome idea to introduce this woman to his adult son.
Bo White was a sweet, but introverted young man of just 29 years at the time of his death. He had diagnosed mental disabilties and recieved a disablity check. It was well known and even noted in court documents and testimony that Bo still played with Stars Wars figurines. It was said that he was ”obsessed” with Star Wars and loved the movies and the toys. Bo wasn’t just recieving a disabilty check, he was also recieving medication of various kinds. It’s not been made clear exactly what prescrpitions he would’ve had in his possesion, but prosecuting attorney, George Sitler commented that she knew he had ”a pocket full of pills and a pocket full of cash.”
It’s unclear when this happened, but Roena started sleeping with Bo instead of his father. James was just another addict, but Bo was living off of the state and also had drugs coming in legally on a regular basis. Seeing that she could get more out of Bo than his father, she dumped James for his son. It was said after Bo’s murder that James was jealous of Bo stealing the woman that he’d been having sex with for years. This would also become Roena’s defense at trial along with a grand story to accompany the claim. The reality was that James was just that petty of a person and that terrible of a father. It was even pointed out at trial that James brought Roena into his son’s life and then became jealous when the two started having sex.
It was late on the night of March 31, 2018 that Roena made plans to see her sugar daddy and his Stars Wars collection. She sent a text that read, ’I’m trying to get my things. Give me a minute.’ She arrived at his home in Lerona, West Virginia, it’s believed the two had sex, and then Bo ended up dead. The medical examiner said at trial that Bo had sustained thirty-seven blunt force injuries to his head. He had also sustained thirteen stab wounds to his chest, two to his neck, two to his abdomen, and one in the back. As if that wasn’t enough, he had been decapitated by a series of old kitchen knives.
Apparently the decapitation had been a failed attempt at dismembering the body to prevent identification. Just before this failed attempt Roena texted several people between midnight and 4:30am including a friend, Jo Fleming. She asked to borrow a chainsaw and a gasoline can, casual right? She would give no explanation just said that she “needed to do this.” He declined her request for help or any items of his for anything she was up to. She then began the long, grueling process of decapitation. Afterward she would raid the man pockets for cash and pills before texting a friend. The text simply read, ‘Let’s party.’
She carried Bo’s head out into the woods and left it there. She left the headless body of the poor reclusive man in his home and left to go to a neighbor’s house. By now she was covered in blood, wearing a leather glove on her left hand, and had a pocket knife clipped to the left side of her pants. Yeah she had to be a scary sight for anyone. At this point it was April 1, 2018, April’s Fools Day. Like any sane person, the neighbors called the cops quickly after seeing her approaching their house and reported her as an unwanted person on their property. Police arrived to question her about her appearence and the reasoning for the pocket knife. She simply cited a cut on her hand and told them she’d been thrown through a glass door, but wouldn’t say who her attacker was or where this shattered glass door was.
Police began asking her series of questions as she appeared quite inebriated with her eyes glazed over. They asked what day it was and she replied ”Easter.” They asked her who the president was and she responded correctly that it was Donald Trump. They asked again what day it was and she became aggitated replying simply, ”Really? Fucking really?” As police continued to question her she began looking to some invisible person she referred to as ”Daddy” and carried on a conversation with this non-exsistant person while speaking with officers. Princeton Rescue Squad was called to the scene to treat the woman for any wounds she may have sustained. From their point of view she was a bloody mess acting as though she were high or having a breakdown of some sort. It’s just protocol to call medics in for situations such as these.
When asked to identify herself she gave the police a false identity. She was informed that she would need to go with the paramedics or leave the property as she was not wanted there. She refused both options and was taken into custody from there. She became combative when deputies tried to put in the back of the police cruiser. It was after being put into the car she would make a statement that would more than catch the deputy off guard. She said as they left, ”You have to take me back and let me get my heads.” The blood soaked woman in the back of his car telling him in all seriousness that he needed to take her back for her heads sent a chill up his spine. I imagine the rest of his ride to the station with her was tense, uncomfortable, and terrifying.
Roena was searched at the station and was found to have narcotics and bloody money in her possession. At the time she was only charged with obstructing, battery of an officer, and simple possession . It was later on in the day that James White would discover the body of his son after deciding to stop by for a visit. Upon walking into the home James said he thought someone was pulling an April Fool’s Day prank on him. It didn’t take him long to figure out that this was no joke. His son had been beaten and stabbed until unconscious and then decapitated to hide his identity. The wallet in his pocket with no money and his ID left inside was enough to indentify him as 29-year-old Bo White.
Details here are unclear from one article to the next about the discovery, but apparently James had lied to police about finding Bo’s body. His reason for the lie, as he stated, was that he was sure that this was a bad April Fool’s Day prank. Police searched the residence and, in true OJ Simpson fashion, found the match to the leather glove that Roena had been arrested wearing. Unfortunately for her the gloves did fit. They also found that his wallet was empty of cash and his body was minus a head. His head wouldn’t be recovered from the woods until later on. At that point witnesses would say they saw Roena emerge from the woods in a bloody mess on the day of her arrest and the discovery.
It didn’t take police long to make the connection between Bloody Mary at the station talking about her heads and the decapitated man in his home. It also didn’t take long to discover the connection between Roena, James, and Bo. Once the links had been established Roena was questioned as the lead suspect in the case. She immediately deflected blame of any wrong-doing and played on James’ jealousy for her defense. She spun a tale for police that was kind of hard to believe considering the circumstaces in which she was found and the evidence at the scene.
In Roena’s version of events she was with Bo at his house on Clover Lane on the night of March 31. James had called his son while she was there and had flown into a rage over Roena being with Bo instead of him. He got so angry that he decided to make a trip to his son’s house to comfront him about the situation. A fight ensued between father and son, but James bested Bo and beat him unconscious, stabbing him at the same time. Roena cowered into a corner, scared that James might kill her next. She said that instead of harming her in any way he cut his own son’s head off with a kitchen knife. After this traumatizing experience Roena left the house.
Needless to say, police weren’t buying this story and the evidence wasn’t supporting it, either. They couldn’t rule out the possibilty that James may have known or been involved somehow, but there was no way to know without a confession. What was obvious to investigators was that Roena had been involved, whether she had help or not. The leather glove found at the scene that was matching the one Roena was wearing earlier that day was a strong and suggestive piece of evidence. Blood evidence at the scene from the cut on her hand also tied her to the crime. How could her blood possibly be at the scene if she cowered in a corner unharmed?
She was arrested and there were only a couple of questions left after that. First, did they charge her with first or second-degree murder? They had no idea whether this crime had been premeditated or not. It was possible that she had planned this as a robbery, but it was also possible that a fight had broken out. It was also just as possible that her verison of events had been partitally true, only that James and Roena had either planned the murder or planned a robbery that went wrong. A second-degree murder charge was settled upon and the courts moved forward. A $200,000 cash only bond was set and Roena was remanded to the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia. Or as it is called by some around here, the lion’s den.
After that question had been answered, they had to figure out the next. Was Roena Mills mentally competant to stand trial? She underwent psychiatric evaluations before standing before a judge to be told she would need to be evaluated further. After more examinations it was made clear that she was competant to stand trial. A preliminary hearing was set for May 18, 2018 at 10:30am.
While incarerated awaiting trial Roena did many things to pass the time. I’d say like many others she read books, wrote letters, and enjoyed recreaction time when she could. She also liked to tell other inmates about how she’d killed a man as well. You know, idle conversation. Employees at the jail overheard these comments and made the proper authorites aware of them. This would end up being another compelling piece of evidence that would help put her away.
Also while in jail she would get a tattoo that judges, attorneys, jury members, and press would never forget. She made sure to display it proudly at all of her hearings as well. It even became a point of contention at one hearing when Sitler noted that she had not had that tattoo before the trial began. It was a simple prison tattoo, nothing fancy about it. It wasn’t even well done at all. Scrawled across Roena’s chest for the world to see during her murder trial for decapitation was ’Special Kinda Crazy.’
At some point before her trial prosecuting attorney, George Sitler was able to determine premeditation in the case. The second-degree murder charge was bumped up to a first-degree charge. It was in January of 2020 that Roena was handed the maximum sentence in the state of West Virginia for such an offense. She was given life without mercy, or the possibilty of parole as other states might put it. Her attorney motioned for a new trial, but Mercer County Circut Court Judge Mark Willis denied the motion. He said that she would have the same right to appeals as everyone else.
Her attorney said that she wasn’t granted a fair trial and that the guilty verdict should be set aside and a new trial scheduled. He argued that cellphone records between Roena and Bo had not been authenticated and that the phones themselves had never been recovered. He also argued that Roena’s blood soaked clothes had never been sent off for testing and neither had hair found clutched in Bo’s hand. In a last ditch effort he even argued that the prosecutors had been unfair. Them making references that she was a drug addict willing to do anything for drugs and that she’d bragged about the crime in jail gave the jury a prejudice against her.
Judge Mark Willis heard none of this. He felt that her trial had been fair and the jury’s two-hour deliberation appropiate. Her guilty verdict was upheld as was her life with mecry sentencing. There have been no more rumblings from the bloody woman of Lorona. If she’s filed for appeals they haven’t made the news. It would almost seem that the world forgot all about Roena Cheryl Mills after her and her infamous tattoo left the public eye. At least the rest of us from Mercer County can rest assured that she’s locked up for life and she’s never getting out.