Arrest made in Wood Grill murder

Roderick McDowell, 25, was arrested in connection with the 2007 murder/robbery outside the Wood Grill Buffet on 29 North.
Police photo

Albemarle County police have finally made an arrest in the April 2007 murder of 48-year old William "Billy" Godsey outside the Wood Grill Buffet. According to Albemarle County police, Godsey and his wife, Sandy, a night manager at the restaurant were walking across the parking lot at approximately 1:30 on the morning of April 12 when two men wearing ski masks approached the couple, knocked Sandra to the ground and beat Billy in the head and body with a blunt instrument. On April 24, almost two weeks after the attack, Billy Godsey died of his injuries at UVA medical center, becoming Albemarle's first homicide of 2007.

Police have arrested Albemarle County resident Roderick McDowell, 25, and charged him with the first degree murder and robbery. McDowell, police say, is already serving time in jail for robbery. Police are also still trying to track down the other assailant. McDowell will appear in the Albemarle County Circuit Court February 12.

The murder highlighted the risks of allowing restaurant employees to handle cash; night manager Sandra Godsey, accompanied by her husband, was reportedly leaving work in the wee hours with the day's cash proceeds. After the murder, Wood Grill management began hiring an armored car to retrieve the cash rather than putting other employees at risk.

"I would never allow my people at any time to carry money after the store closes unless they had some type of security," Tony LaBua, owner of Chap's Ice Cream on the Downtown Mall, told the Hook after the murder.

In the past 22 years, Chap's has been robbed twice, said LaBua, who said he has different employees do money drops at random times during the day to prevent targeting by would-be thieves.

Anyone with information regarding the on-going investigation should contact Detective Charles Woycik at (434) 296-5807 or Crime Stoppers at (434) 977-4000.



Another reason people need to start carrying firearms for their own protection. The police CAN NOT protect you.

Furthermore, with very few exceptions, it's perfectly legal to open carry a firearm in Virginia even if you don't have a concealed handgun permit. (The Norfolk Police Department just lost a landmark case in which they tried to prosecute a man for openly carrying a firearm in plain view. They had aready harassed him twice and settled a lawsuit out of court with the same man. Now they have another major lawsuit coming their direction)

And another good reason to lock animals up and throw away the key. You don't get reformed from this type of behavior.

El que anda mal acava mal
he who is bad ends bad

You're killing me! You know so much about police work. You also know the police can't be everywhere at once. Police work at it's core has always been a responsive type of job. Example you don't arrest a killer prior to them killing anyone-you wouldn't have a crime. My point is this, the police are not all knowing, all seeing. When they get the call the deal with what they have and try to right the wrong. Now I agree with you about carrying a gun. I also could have told the Norfolk police that unless the man was a convicted felon that the arrest in that situation wouldn't hold water in Virginia.

Armchair Quarterback, all I said was "the police CAN NOT protect you". I know a lot about personal protection, It has nothing to do with my seemingly vast knowledge of police work. :)

People carrying large sums of money have a personal responsibility to insure their own safety. And this pretty much involves their carrying a firearm openly or with a concealed handgun permit.

All I'm really saying is if Mr. Godsey had realized the importance of this and had a firearm with him, we might be reading where he shot and killed an animal that was beating him with an aluminum baseball bat. That's the content I would like to have seen in this story. Maybe others can learn by reading anything you or I say. So our mission is accomplished hopefully.

For God's sake people, start arming yourselves! Serious and violent crime is only going to get worse, I don't care what statistics the police publish to prove otherwise. A 20% drop in the local murder rate means nothing if you're the one who is beat to death while walking out of a business with a a large deposit. Just the appearance of a .44 magnum hanging on your belt will send most of these cowardly thugs carrying baseball bats running for the nearest dumpster to hide behind!

Like a lot of folks, I live where the police response time is 10+ minutes. That's why I have a CHP (Concealed Handgun Permit) and carry both concealed and open. BTW, if you live on several acres of property, only the area around the house and out buildings are considered under the castle doctrine in common law. So, be careful about carrying a concealed weapon on your own property. If you own a gun, there is no reason not to get a CHP. Whether of not you intend to carry a firearm off your property. It's better to be safe than sorry. More information on open carry can be found at and

Oops! Virginia does not have a "castle doctrine." But, still it is only legal to carry concealed in your "own place of abode or the curtilage thereof" VA Code 18.2-308.

Steve, you're confusing people now.

With a concealed handgun permit, a person can carry a concealed handgun almost anywhere. The most obvious exception is a courthouse. And you can not carry a concealed firearm into restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages. You must uncover the firearm when you enter a restaurant with an ABC license, even if you have a concealed handgun permit.

Without a concealed handgun permit, a person can carry a firearm in plain view almost anywhere too. The most obvious exceptions are schools and courthouses. And businesses that expressly forbid it or ask that you remove yourself and handgun from their property. If you refuse after being asked, you're now trespassing.

There was recently a big stink in Norfolk, Virginia where a couple of cops in full uniform asked a person to remove himself and his handgun from private property where the handgun was banned. He refused and was unlawfuuly arrested (false arrest). The court ruled it was public property and the falsely arrested person had every right to openly carry a handgun. Since this was at least the third time the Norfolk police made the same mistake with the same man, there obviously is going to be a major lawsuit against the Norfolk Police Department this time. In the second mistake they had already paid him $10,000 for falsely arresting him. After the current lawsuit is served on the city, the police department and the officers involved, everybody is expecting the man to be targeted with fabricated charges and falsely arrested again. This is the way some idiot cops operate. A lot of people nationwide will be watching to see exactly what the Norfolk Police Department does next. They seem to be too stupid to learn. The first words out of the comonwealth attorney's mouth was, "We think the judge erred in dismissing the charge!" Jeebus, what a moron!

Is this guy's name really Roderick McDowell? Is he related to the Roddie McDowell who starred in "Planet of the...?" I would bet a fair amount of Halsey Minor's art collection that this animal probably has priors even before the recent robbery conviction.

Sick Of The Local Rambos, sorry for the confusion.

What I meant to say was that without a CHP, you cannot carry a concealed handgun when you are on your own property and outside of the legal definition of "curtilage thereof."