Odessa police said Tuesday they have charged George Roden with the murder of a 56-year-old man.

Roden is a self-proclaimed prophet released from the McLennan County Jail last December. He had served six months for writing legal motions threatening judges with herpes and acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Odessa Sgt. Snow Robertson said police arrested Roden Sunday after finding the body of a man who had shared an Odessa duplex with Roden, 50.

The man, whose name has not been released, was shot and bludgeoned with a hatchet, according to Justice of the Peace E.H. Hendrick. Robertson said Roden made a statement to police. He is claiming self-defense, Robertson said.

Roden is being held under a $40,000 bond on a charge of murder.

Police are still awaiting the results of a preliminary autopsy, Robertson said.

“We’re still trying to determine the motive,” Robertson said. “We don’t know the relationship between the two men. They lived in a duplex. One lived in the front part. One lived in the back part. We really have very little information to go on.”

Police say they don’t know how long Roden has been in Odessa.

After Roden’s release from the McLennan County Jail the day after Christmas last year, some officials with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department said they feared he might try to return to 77 acres near Elk. The acreage was the source of a dispute between Roden and followers of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventists.

Roden’s late mother, Lois, had moved the church to the property in 1957 from Waco.

Judge Bill Logue of Waco’s 19th State District Court granted the Branch Davidians the land after a court battle. Roden, however, refused to leave the property, which he named Rodenville.

The Branch Davidians took over the property when U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith sentenced Roden to jail for writing obscene legal motions. The Branch Davidians renamed the land the New Mount Carmel Center.

Robertson said Odessa police are checking dispatching tapes to determine if Roden called police to report the killing. He was arrested at the scene, Robertson said.

Roden made a statement, but Robertson said police found much of it confusing.

“A lot of it didn’t make sense,” he said. “We’re trying to find someone to clarify his remarks.”

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.

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