Investigator: Microwave wasn't plugged in when it killed Sylvester man

SYLVESTER, Ga. — Authorities, who initially reported that James Lee Roddy was killed while working on a plugged-in microwave oven Saturday, say that the microwave was unplugged when he began to work on it.

Roddy, 25, was found unresponsive when police and EMS units answered a call to an address on the 500 block of West Pinson Street. Roddy was later pronounced dead by doctors at Phoebe Worth Medical center.

Investigators said Monday that Roddy was killed when he was electrocuted by a microwave oven that was still plugged into a 120-volt receptacle. On Tuesday, Investigator Ronnie Graddy said that Roddy had unplugged the appliance, but that a residual charge in the oven’s capacitor held enough electricity to fatally shock Roddy.

“The microwave oven that Mr. Roddy was working on at the time of his death was not plugged in. It is apparent that the capacitor that can hold as much as 4,000 volts provided the current that caused Mr.Roddy’s death. The capacitor can remain charged with dangerous electrical energy for hours, even days, after the microwave oven plug is pulled from the wall outlet,” Graddy said in an email to the Herald Tuesday.


rchatmon 2 years, 9 months ago

Unbelievable. I am saddened by this occurrence but shocked (no pun intended) that this can happen. You would think that when an appliance is unplugged there is no way that electricity could be dispensed. I don't think this is common knowledge so I would hope that this information would be placed in microwaves where anyone could see it if they had the need to work on their microwave. This also makes me wonder if this could happen with other appliances as well.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 9 months ago

Volts don't kill you.......current does. There is more to this story. An unplugged microwave OVEN capacitor cannot kill a healthy person unless they are standing in the bathtub full of water when they touch it.


Cranky 2 years, 9 months ago

A microwave oven’s technical wizardry means that tackling a repair job is extremely risky, even for the most advanced DIY-er. Microwave ovens have an extremely high voltage component that can jolt you with a potentially fatal electric shock, even when it’s unplugged. Most likely, you’d rather not brush up on how to discharge a high voltage capacitor or measure how to check for radio frequency emissions. If you’re considering repairing rather than replacing a faulty microwave oven.


BettyBowTie 2 years, 9 months ago

A lot of appliances store power, usually one would only get a nasty shock. Maybe he had a heart condition as well.


VSU 2 years, 9 months ago

A shock like that can affect the heart, particularly if you have a heart condition. Sometimes a loud unexpected noise can trigger a heart attack. I remember several years ago I was looking inside an old TV set that was unplugged, and i touched something that gave me a jolt. My7 advice is handle things with caution even when they are unplugged.


dmyers80 2 years, 9 months ago

I have to agree with sister_ruby on this one... If it can store up to 4,000 volts unplugged ,then it should be able to work unplugged???


bJACKSON9 2 years, 9 months ago

To Mr. Graddy's Family, My heart goes out to you this is a terrible accident and it could have happened to anyone. Everyone wants to talk and be an expert but God is in charge of all things and we all have a way that we will leave this earth. All I can say is that my prayers are with you and I am asking God to keep your family in the hollow of his Holy hands. Evangelist Jackson


LoneCycler 2 years, 9 months ago

The capacitor that is used to filter the rectified voltage applied to the magnetron in a microwave oven is typically of very high quality and will store a charge for weeks. Most likely this man had one hand touching the chassis of the oven when his other hand made contact with the capacitor. Even if the oven was not plugged in the capacitor will discharge voltage to the lower chassis potential by creating a current path through your body. The discharge path most likely was from one hand to the other across the chest damaging the nerves that keep the heart beating. My deepest condolences for Mr. Roddy's family. This incident is tragic and should be a lesson to others.


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