Dade County, Georgia man convicted of murdering his mother

A Dade County jury this week convicted a Trenton man of murdering his 81-year-old mother.

On March 4, 2022, Roger Allen Shrader, 59, was found by deputies from the Dade County Sheriff’s Office next to the body of his late mother in an apartment building on Sand Mountain’s Brow Road.

The victim, Lagatha “Cathy” Watson, was attacked with a machete and pickaxe and nearly decapitated, according to a press release from the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit prosecutor’s office. The Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit includes Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker counties.

After a three-day trial, Shrader was found guilty on eight counts Wednesday, including malicious murder, felony murder and aggravated assault. The jury found Shrader guilty but mentally ill, meaning he can receive mental health treatment during his sentence if prison officials deem it necessary.

A sentencing date has not been set, but Shrader faces a life sentence under Georgian law, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“Justice was delivered in Trenton today,” District Attorney Clay Fuller said in a press release. “I would like to thank my prosecution team and my law enforcement partners for their work on this case – as it has certainly taken a toll on them. We all hope that this will bring some measure of peace to the victim’s family.”

Evidence presented during the trial showed Shrader had suffered from mental health problems since childhood but had refused treatment, prosecutors said. Shrader’s legal counsel argued insanity in his defense, but Shrader testified that he knew he had done something “terrible” and that his mother posed no threat to him, although he was delusional at the time of the offence.

“Under Georgian law, the defense of insanity is applicable only when a defendant is unable to distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the crime,” the press release reads. “Or if they suffer from a delusional compulsion which would justify their actions under the facts of the delusion.”

Shrader was arrested on March 4, 2022. The release said Shrader apologized to the victim’s husband outside the home as Shrader was being loaded into a squad car. The release also said Shrader made a full confession later that day.

— Compiled by Andrew Wilkins