He has a sister who lives in Atlanta. Many members of Roland's family had lost touch with him and were not aware he had been living in Florida.
Photo: John Spink
Photo: John Spink

Do you remember the Buckhead crane-sitter?

If you lived in Atlanta 10 years ago, you likely remember the three days in May when Buckhead was brought to a standstill by a man sitting on a construction crane.

Even if you didn't live in Atlanta, you might have heard of him. 

The man was Carl Edward Roland, who was at the time wanted by police in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Gonzalez.

The strangled and badly beaten body of Gonzalez, 36, was found in a retention pond on May 24, 2005. Police  in Pinellas County, Florida, said she was last seen with Roland, and they issued a warrant for his arrest when he didn't return to his Clearwater home.

Roland showed up the next day at a construction site in Atlanta. The AJC reported that Roland had a sister here, and that many family members had lost touch with him and were not aware he had been living in Florida.

As CNN reported, when Roland showed up at the construction site, he "ordered a worker out of his way. He then rode up the crane's elevator before climbing out onto the horizontal arm. He is reported to have told the worker he'd 'hurt someone.' "

Roland spent 56 hours on the crane, 350 feet above Buckhead, as Florida police pieced together their case. 

During his three days on the crane, Roland refused food and water offered to him.

In an attempt to keep him awake and prevent him from falling 25 stories, police positioned "a large bucket used for carrying concrete along the crane's arm. When Roland moved, the bucket followed underneath him. The bucket also contained a loud siren," CNN reported.

Roland dismantled the siren and other parts of the crane, and dropped parts onto the street.

The suspect eventually agreed to accept water from the police. When he got close enough, an officer tasered, tackled and retrained him. Shortly after midnight on May 28, police brought Roland down from the crane.

Roland was extradited to Florida, where he stood trial. On Feb. 12, 2009, he was found guilty of first-degree murder. 

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Timothy Peters sentenced Roland to life in prison with no possibility of parole, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

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