Watch CBS News

Former Florida High School Assistant Principal Ernest Roberts Makes First Court Appearance On Premeditated Murder Charges

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida judge ruled that the former high school assistant principal charged with the murder of a teacher will remain in jail.

39-year-old Ernest Roberts had a quick appearance before a Miami-Dade judge Saturday on a murder charge.

Ernest Roberts Bond Court
39-year-old Ernest Roberts makes his first appearance in front of a judge following his arrest on murder charges. (Source: CBS4)

"Sir, you have been arrested for one count of premeditated murder. There's an arrest warrant. You're being held no bond," a judge said.

The former Miami Norland Senior High assistant principal is accused of killing teacher test administrator Kameela Russell.

The state attorney in Miami-Dade announced an arrest had been made Friday. However, a motive is still unclear.

"We all want to know that. it's human nature to try to find out how was it that someone so close could've done this to someone who was so loved by so many people," said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Roberts and Russell have known each other since they were children. The suspect is the godfather to the victim's two daughters.

Investigators say on May 15th, Russell was last seen on surveillance video arriving at Roberts' home. They say she didn't leave alive.

"There was extensive evidence of a clean-up effort," the state attorney said Friday.

Investigators say Russell's blood was found at the home. Police say there was also a strong smell of bleach.

"We know that this arrest has been very difficult on Kameela Russell's family," Rundle said.

Russell's mother and aunt were still too shaken up to talk at Friday's news conference.

Ernest Roberts Mug Shot
Ernest Roberts mugshot (Courtesy: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Miami Gardens police officers say her body was found in a canal near Roberts' home a week and a half after her disappearance.  Records show she died from a blunt head injury.

Investigators say a key clue that tied them to Roberts is a note he's accused of writing to a co-worker at a different school asking about chopping up a car and asking for the note to be thrown away. That car was later found behind a gas station.

In Florida, there are two possible outcomes if convicted for premeditated murder; life in prison or the death penalty.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.