George Roden (January 17, 1938 – December 6, 1998), was a leader of the Branch Davidian sect, a Seventh-day Adventist splinter group, and the former husband of Amo Bishop Roden. In 1987, he was evicted from the Mount Carmel Center near Waco, Texas by his rival David Koresh. He was later confined in a Texas mental hospital for a 1989 murder, until his own death.
George Roden was the presumed successor to his mother Lois Roden, who had become president of the Branch Davidians in 1978, when her husband and group leader Benjamin Roden had died. However, Vernon Howell (after 1990 known as David Koresh) arrived at Mount Carmel and began a sexual relationship with Lois Roden who was then in her sixties. Koresh justified their relationship by claiming that God had chosen him to father a child with her, who would be the Chosen One. George Roden felt that his position of leadership was threatened and was deeply offended by Koresh's relationship with his elderly mother. He would file a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Koresh had raped Lois and brainwashed her into turning against him.
In 1984 Koresh left the compound for Palestine, Texas with the vast majority of the group's followers. Roden renamed Mount Carmel "Rodenville". In a videotaped interview Roden led a tour of "Rodenville" using an M1 carbine as a pointer and declared: "It's basically a holy jihad, Khomeini versus Israel, that's what Vernon Howell has with me." Three years later, resentful of Koresh's power over the Davidians, Roden challenged Koresh, saying that whoever could resurrect the dead was the true leader. While Roden prayed over the body of Ana Hughes, dead two decades earlier, Koresh reported Roden to the McLennan County sheriff's office for corpse abuse. The police told Koresh that he needed evidence to back up his accusation.
On November 3, 1987, Koresh and seven followers returned to Mount Carmel heavily armed and wearing camouflage clothing. They stealthily entered the compound, allegedly to obtain a photograph. However they did not bring a camera, and carried military grade weaponry, and a map of the grounds with positions to occupy. They found Roden crouched behind a tree with an Uzi submachine gun and a gun battle ensued for several minutes. Roden fled the property with wounds to his hand and chest. Koresh's compatriots were found not guilty after a two-week trial for attempted murder in Waco, and a mistrial was declared in Koresh's case. Their weapons, five .223-caliber semi-automatic rifles, two .22-caliber rifles and two 12-gauge shotguns, which had been confiscated by the police were returned as well. The shoot out at Mount Carmel would be described by the New York Times as a foretelling of the violence of the Waco siege, a warning that the world chose to ignore.
Two years later in 1989, Roden killed his roommate (Wayman Dale Adair, 56) with an ax in Odessa, Texas, and claimed that the man had been sent by Koresh to kill him. Put on trial for murder, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and confined to a state mental hospital in North Texas.
Mental illness and death
On September 30, 1993 Roden walked away from the Big Spring State Hospital and went missing for 10 days. The Big Spring Police Department was assisted in the search by the Odessa Police Department and the Texas Rangers. He was captured the next day in Abilene, Texas, and returned to Big Spring State Hospital by the Taylor County sheriff's department. In February 1995, the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation's Dangerous Review Board declared Roden "not manifestly dangerous." Seven months later, he fled Big Spring for three days before being caught outside the Israeli consulate in New York City, where he reportedly caused a disturbance after being denied a visa to Israel. Roden, who claimed to be Jewish, said PLO-trained hitmen were trying to kill him.
On December 8, 1998, Roden again escaped and was found dead on the grounds of Big Spring State Hospital of a heart attack, where he was confined at the time.