Skip Roth and his son Chris are 2 talented artists from just a bit east of Asheville, NC., who in 1995 were on the verge of national celebrity for their use of the chainsaw as a tool to carve intricate statues from logs.
I had the pleasure recently to shoot a story about them with reporter Bob Buckley.
On Fathers day of 1995, just a day before heading out to appear on 'Live with Regis and Cathy Lee' (it WAS 1995) a twist of fate befell them that sounds like it's been lifted from a great work of fiction.
Listening to the story of their past 10 years on the mountainsides of McDowell County and digesting the details could lead you to the conclusion that the two should hail from the mountains of Kentucky and have the last names Hatfield or maybe McCoy.
But it was here in Marion, NC, where Skip was convicted of 2nd Degree murder. A murder in which he claims self defense.
The shooting was the last straw in a feud that stemmed from patriarch Skip having learned from one of his older sons that he(the older son) had been molested by a neighbor for about 10 years.
On the day of the shooting the pedophile neighbor came into the woods where the Roths were clearing some trees off of a mountain access road to their property. The man was drunk, mad, and armed with a revolver.
The map below is Skip's oil based depiction, a wide shot if you will, of the side of the mountain where the shooting happened.
Skip, a self proclaimed marksman, shot the man dead when the gun was pointed his way.
But a Marion County jury convicted Skip Roth of 2nd degree murder. He appealed and after 3 long years in the maximum security confines of Central Prison he was finally a free man.
Roth is still working to rebuild his character and certainly his dignity, and his customer base for his chainsaw statues is growing once again.
He has penned a paperback detaling the tragic events of 1995, what led up the the killing and how Roth felt he was betrayed by the justice system.
I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of the book yet(give it up Buckley), but I'm certainly eager to plop down and get more of thein depth and juicy details of this tale.
But while we were there shooting (video) they did fill me in on this enlightening fact. Roth's half-brother is a direct McCoy descendent and the pedophile neighbor was a distant relative of the Hatfields.
To get the book click here