ST. LOUIS — A jury found a St. Louis man guilty Friday in the 2016 beating death of his roommate in their Bevo Mill home.
The jury found Paul Deroy Jr., 52, guilty of first-degree murder and other counts in the fatal beating of Ricardo Comparini on Feb. 22, 2016.
Comparini, 51, was found dead with severe head trauma in his bedroom. Police said he had been struck by a “rigid lineal object,” which caused numerous broken bones.
Deroy also was convicted of taking Comparini’s 2009 Lincoln MKS, which police found two weeks later with Comparini’s blood-stained wallet, clothing and watch collection.
Follow-up DNA tests revealed Comparini’s blood under Deroy’s fingernails. Deroy’s DNA was found on some of the bloody items found in Comparini’s car.
Assistant Circuit Attorney Matei Stroescu told jurors Deroy “brutalized” Comparini, whose body was found in a pool of blood with ligature marks on his neck, broken ribs, a smashed face and multiple skull fractures. Police said inside the home they found blood smeared on walls, floors and furniture in multiple rooms.
After the killing, Deroy told a girlfriend, “I just snapped,” Stroescu said. Authorities have never offered a motive for the killing.
Deroy had known Comparini for more than a decade and had been living at the home on Bowen Street for a few months, according to Deroy’s lawyer Erika Wurst. She said prosecutors were” trying to force a story onto this evidence that just doesn’t make sense.”
That Deroy’s DNA was found throughout the home when police found Comparini’s body wasn’t unusual because Deroy lived there, Wurst said. Police found none of Deroy’s DNA on Comparini’s body.
Comparini was originally from Guatemala; he emigrated to the United States decades ago and worked in the banking industry, relatives said. He had a passion for cooking and was described as “unique,” “flamboyant” and protective of his longtime partner, Lewis Faulkner.
Faulkner was Deroy’s brother and also lived in the home on Bowen Street. Faulkner died in November 2016 from lung cancer. Police ruled him out as a suspect in Comparini’s death.
Deroy and Faulkner’s sister, Kathleen Merkel, said she was close with Comparini as well. She said Deroy “was a good person when he’s not on drugs and alcohol. That was his demise.”
“I’m feeling torn because (Deroy) is my brother but relieved because I think it’s what should have happened,” Merkel said. “He makes a better prisoner than he does a civilian. I hope that he finds some peace with himself. I’m not super religious but I hope he finds God and can do something good maybe in prison. I pray for his soul.”
Deroy’s criminal history stretches to at least 1990, with several convictions of felony assault, resisting arrest and drunken driving in St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jefferson County.
Deroy did not testify at trial this week. At sentencing Dec. 18, he’ll receive the mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
This story was updated to correct the name of the neighborhood.