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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Newspaper reports from gut-wrenching Troutman murder-suicide 20 years ago 

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 @ 6:03 PM

Lester and Terry "Zapp" Troutman sit down with What Had Happened Was host Amelia Robinson.

It’s been 20 years since the shocking death of one of the most dynamic and famous musicians in Dayton history. 

Larry Troutman shot his brother, talkbox pioneer Roger Troutman outside of Roger Troutman's Dayton music studio as part of a murder-suicide on April 25, 1999. 

Larry Troutman was later found dead in his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Roger Troutman died at an area hospital. 

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We poured through the Dayton Daily News archives to read reports of the crime and its aftermath.

>> 7 of Dayton’s most shocking crimes

The brothers were part of the legendary Dayton funk band Zapp and Roger Troutman had a successful solo career.

Hits include "More Bounce to the Ounce," "Doo Wa Ditty," "I Can Make You Dance," "Heartbreaker, "Computer Love," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "I Want to Be Your Man,"  and "California Love (2Pac featuring Troutman and Dr. Dre)."

 >> MORE: 8 Dayton acts you should give a funk about

An estimated 3,000 people attended their funeral. 

April 30, 1999---story by Franklin---Memorial Service for Roger and Larry Troutman at Shiloh Misssionary Baptist Church on Fairbanks Ave in Dayton. Shirly Murdock-DeGroat leads congregation in prayer.(WALLY NELSON)

Find articles below from the Dayton Daily News archives related to the case and the funeral of Roger and Larry Troutman. 

Except from the article “Troutman Brothers Shot Dead” published March 26, 1999 written by  Lou Grieco and Khalid Moss. 

On Sunday, Dayton police were called at about 7:20 a.m. to the alley between Catalpa Drive and Ravenwood Avenue behind Roger Tee Enterprises Inc., 2016 Salem Ave. Officers found Roger Troutman, who appeared to have been shot several times, Sgt. Gary White said. Witnesses told police the gunman had left in a black car.

Minutes later, dispatchers got a call about a car hitting a tree on the 2100 block of Harvard Boulevard, White said. Officers found Larry Troutman in the driver's seat of a black Lincoln. He appeared to have shot himself in the head.

"We don't know what this is about," White said. Witnesses weren't able to say anything about the dispute. Detectives planned to interview family members on whether there were problems in the family or the business.

One onlooker at the scene on Harvard was Williams. He wept as he remembered the Troutmans, who he said he had known for more than two decades. Williams said he was trying to contact Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, guitarist for the Ohio Players. Bonner taught Roger Troutman how to play guitar, he said. "He'll be upset," Williams said.

A former singer with the band, Larry Troutman had served as president of Troutman Enterprises Inc., whose interests included contracting, real-estate management and the three recording studios and a rehearsal space in the buildings near where Roger was shot. Those properties are listed in phone directories under the name Roger Tee Enterprises Inc.

Word of the shootings spread quickly Sunday through the neighborhoods along Salem Avenue. Midway through services at Omega Baptist Church, 1821 Emerson St., the Rev. Daryl Ward somberly announced them. At the taped-off crime scene near Harvard and Benson Drive, a steady stream of onlookers gathered as officers took photos and prepared to have the late-model Lincoln towed away.

The funeral included representatives of the music industry included members of such nationally known acts as the Gap Band; Cincinnati-native Bootsie Collins; and prominent figures of Dayton's funk elite, including members of such bands as The Ohio Players, Lakeside and the Troutmans' own group, Zapp.  Flower arrangements expressed condolences from a host of people in the entertainment business, including rhythm and blues singer Gerald Levert and folk-rocker Michelle Shocked.

Warner Bros. Records, which was Roger's long-time recording label, sent a pair of red, guitar-shaped floral displays.  

The open caskets of Roger and Larry Troutman lay side-by-side as mourners packed the opulently adorned sanctuary. A line of about 250 people stood outside and the road leading to the church was still choked with traffic when the doors closed at 11 a.m. for the service. Those mourners could observe the ceremony on a video monitor in an "overflow" area of the church.  

Donald J. Jordan, pastor of Allen Temple AME Church in Cincinnati who spoke of knowing the Troutman family during their years in Hamilton, presided over the approximately 90-minute service.  

First to speak was the Rev. Daryl Ward, pastor of Dayton's Omega Baptist Church, where many members of the extended Troutman family regularly worship. Basing his remarks on the 23rd Psalm, Ward asked the gathering to direct strength and prayer to the grieving family.  

Recording artist Shirley Murdock-DeGroat, whose career Roger nurtured, followed. "Larry and Roger meant so much to me," she said. "They made a deposit in my life, and this is the fruit of that deposit," she said, introducing a duet with Pastor Ronnie Diamond of the song That's What Friends Are For, which set an uplifting, spiritual tone for the services.  

Former Central State University President Arthur Thomas offered the eulogy for Larry Troutman, stressing his generosity and courage among other admirable qualities. "Larry Troutman was a generous, loving, caring, courageous man," Thomas said. "Larry Troutman was a creative genius. He liked trying to make a difference. Whatever is written, we know Larry made this a better world. . . . Larry is going to a place where there is truly 'more bounce to the ounce.' More Bounce to the Ounce was the Zapp Band's 1980 break-through hit.

Roger Troutman in an undated publicity photo probably from the early 1980s. Troutman, a musician and leader of the band Zapp, was shot and killed by his brother, Larry Troutman, on April 25, 1999.(Contributed photo)

The crime stunned Daytonians and music lovers around the world. 

>>Read Roger Troutman’s obituary as published in the New York Times in 1999.

Radio stations around the nation paid tribute to Roger Troutman and his work.

Zapp hit it big as an all-brother outfit in the late 1970s. 

>> Dayton funk museum is closing and looking for new location

Roger Troutman's music was part of the life soundtrack of those who come of age in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1990s, Roger Troutman lent his computerized vocals to popular songs for 2Pac (”California Love” the video for which he appeared in); H-Town (”A Thin Line Between Love and Hate”), Johnny Gill (”It’s Your Body”) and Eazy-E (”Eternal E”). His music also appeared in recordings by Snoop Dogg, Biggie Smalls, Redman, Blackstreet and MC Hammer.

The list of artists that sampled the Troutmans music include : Big Daddy Kane;  BLACKstreet; George Clinton; Cypress Hill; Da Brat; Eazy-E; Notorious B.I.G.; Junior M.A.F.I.A.; Heavy D; EPMD; Jodeci; Lil' Kim; Method Man; Snoop Dogg; Janet Jackson, Ice Cube,  Tupac Shakur and  Xscape. 

Zapp continues to tour and put out music today.

>> Funk dream lives on: Rare interview with Zapp band

DISCOGRAPHY

 

SOLO ALBUMS 

 

* 1975: Introducing Roger (Troutman Brothers Records) 

 

* 1981: The Many Facets of Roger (Warner Bros. Records) 

 

* 1984: The Saga Continues (Warner Bros.) 

 

* 1987: Unlimited (Reprise Records) 

 

* 1991: Bridging the Gap (Reprise Records) 

 

ZAPP ALBUMS 

 

* 1980: Zapp (Warner Bros.) 

 

* 1982: Zapp II (Warner Bros.) 

 

* 1983: Zapp III (Warner Bros.) 

 

* 1986: The New Zapp IV U (Warner Bros.) 

 

* 1989: Zapp V (Reprise) 

 

GREATEST HITS 

 

* 1993: Zapp & Roger: All the Greatest Hits (Reprise) 

 

* 1996: Roger & Zapp The Compilation: Greatest Hits II And More (Reprise)

The death of Roger and Larry Troutman in a murder-suicide made headlines in the Dayton Daily News in 1999. Source: Dayton Daily News archives(Source: Dayton Daily News archives)

The death of Roger and Larry Troutman in a murder-suicide made headlines in the Dayton Daily News in 1999. Source: Dayton Daily News archives(Source: Dayton Daily News archives)

The death of Roger and Larry Troutman in a murder-suicide made headlines in the Dayton Daily News in 1999. Source: Dayton Daily News archives(Source: Dayton Daily News archives)

The death of Roger and Larry Troutman in a murder-suicide made headlines in the Dayton Daily News in 1999. Source: Dayton Daily News archives(Source: Dayton Daily News archives)

The death of Roger and Larry Troutman in a murder-suicide made headlines in the Dayton Daily News in 1999. Source: Dayton Daily News archives(Source: Dayton Daily News archives)

The death of Roger and Larry Troutman in a murder-suicide made headlines in the Dayton Daily News in 1999. Source: Dayton Daily News archives(Source: Dayton Daily News archives)

The death of Roger and Larry Troutman in a murder-suicide made headlines in the Dayton Daily News in 1999. Source: Dayton Daily News archives(Source: Dayton Daily News archives)