GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Roger Self, the man who plowed through a Bessemer City restaurant killing his daughter and daughter-in-law and injuring several other family members, was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison Friday. He could serve a maximum of 48 years.
Friday marked the end of four days of Self’s sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty in January to intentionally driving into the restaurant.
Self was sentenced to 230-288 months in prison for each of the two murder charges, to be served consecutively. He was also given 70-96 months for each of the assault charges. Those will be served concurrently with the other sentences, meaning it is not time added on.
His attorney had said before the trial that Self was facing between 12 and 82 years in prison.
In an interrogation video, Self told police that he had been on anti-depression and anti-anxiety meds and that he was not himself when he plowed his car into the Surf and Turf Lodge restaurant. He said he bought a gun the night before and was going to kill himself.
Instead, he killed his family members. He was at the lunch table with them after church Sunday on May 20, 2018, when he walked out.
As police continued interrogating him, Self repeatedly said, “it was not me” and said “a spirit” inside him made him kill his daughter. He even said that “the devil” tricked him.
But a paramedic who responded to the scene that day said Self knew just what he had done.
A forensic psychiatrist said Self suffered from bipolar disorder and had a dangerous combination of drugs in his system when the deadly incident occurred.
The defense argued that the claims were false, claiming Self had guilt over visiting strip clubs and massage parlors. They suggested Self killed his family because he wanted a new life, something the defense said is just not true.
The prosecution said Roger had a girlfriend at the beach. They suggested that he wanted a new life and his family was in the way, something the defense said is just so far from the truth.
Self took the stand Thursday, admitting that a different lifestyle had led to his spiral.
He said that about two years ago, before the murders, he first started looking at porn and was too embarrassed to tell his wife or his daughters. He said it later escalated to going to strip clubs and massage parlors in the area.
Self said the guilt over an encounter with a woman he met at the beach continued to overtake him, even after he told his wife.
“When I kind of kissed her back, a feeling came over, of such massive guilt, I love my wife, my family, and she left,” Self said in court.
Self said he never saw the woman again. That was nine months before he rammed into the restaurant, killing his daughter and daughter-in-law.