An East Moline man who will be 29 on Dec. 30 has been sentenced to serve 45 years in prison for killing his grandfather in 2017.

Roman P. Knox was sentenced Friday at a bench trial in Rock Island County Court, according to court records. In a jury trial, jurors make the decisions. In a bench trial, the judge makes the decisions.

Roman Knox (contributed photo.)

On Nov. 17, 2017, he was accused of firing a shotgun at the chest of his grandfather, 69-year-old Robert Neal, after an argument outside Neal’s home on North 21st Street.

Knox pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. He must serve 100 percent of the sentence, and will be given credit for time served, according to court records.

The 2017 incident

According to East Moline Police, officers  responded to a call just after 9:30 p.m. Nov. 17, 2017, near the intersection of 19th Street and 2nd Avenue in East Moline.

When police arrived at the scene on 19th Street, they found Neal lying in the grass with a bullet wound to the chest. Neal, who provided a description of a suspect before he was taken to a hospital, was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Knox ran off but was apprehended a short time later a few blocks away in the 100th block of 21st Street. 

At a news conference, police said this wasn’t the first incident between the two relatives, who had a history of domestic problems.