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20060202: Serial Gay Killer Sentenced NJ Staten Island Serial Killer News

Staten Is. man will serve at least 65 years in two New Jersey murders; suspect in others

A New Jersey judge sentenced Richard W. Rogers, a gay man from Staten Island, to what is effectively a life sentence after he was found guilty in the 1992 killing of Thomas R. Mulcahy and the 1993 slaying of Anthony E. Marrero.


“It’s the maximum sentence that is permitted under New Jersey law for the crime that he was found guilty of,” William J. Heisler, the executive assistant prosecutor in the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, who handled the case, told Gay City News.


The verdict had come on November 10 after a four-week trial, but sentencing happened only last week.


On January 27, James N. Citta, the New Jersey Superior Court judge who presided over the case, gave Rogers a 30-years-to-life sentence for murder with another two-and-a-half year minimum for hindering apprehension in the Mulcahy slaying. Citta gave Rogers the same penalty in the Marrero killing.


The judge required that Rogers serve all four sentences consecutively. Rogers, 55, will have to serve a minimum of 65 years before he is eligible for parole.


The Associated Press reported that Citta called Rogers “an evil human being” and expressed the hope that he die “in some hole in some prison without ever having freedom again.” Citta concluded by saying, “That’s the judgment of this court... We’re done. Take him out of here,” the AP reported


The remains of the 57-year-old Mulcahy, a businessman from Sudbury, Massachusetts known to visit gay bars when in New York, were found in two locations in New Jersey as were the remains of the 44-year-old Marrero, also known to be gay. Both men had been carefully dismembered and wrapped in plastic bags. Rogers’ fingerprints were found on the bags holding the remains of both men.


The murder cases went unsolved until 2000 when a 14-member task force that included investigators from the New Jersey State Police, Ocean County, and New York’s Rockland County re-opened the case. New technology was used to identify the fingerprints on the plastic trash bags and matched against fingerprints from Rogers taken when he was tried but acquitted in Maine of the 1973 murder of 22-year-old Frederic Spencer.


Citta allowed the prosecution to present evidence during the trial on two out-of-state murders that Rogers was not charged with but for which he is a suspect, based on key similarities between those killings and the Mulcahy and Marrero slayings. The jury saw evidence in the killings of Michael Sakara, 55, whose remains were found in New York in 1993, and Peter Anderson, 54, whose body was found in Pennsylvania in 1991.


Citta did not allow evidence of the 1982 murder of Matthew John Pierro, 25, in Florida, to be introduced. Pierro was found with ligature marks on his neck, indicating he had been strangled, and multiple stab wounds to his body. Rogers is considered a prime suspect.


Sakara, but not Anderson, had been dismembered in a way that matched the Marrero and Mulcahy dismemberments. Rogers’ fingerprints were found on the bags that held Anderson’s body, but not on the bags that held Sakara’s remains. A witness saw Sakara and Rogers together in a Greenwich Village bar hours before Sakara’s body was found.


Police never determined where the Mulcahy and Marrero killings took place and that will be an issue for Rogers’ appeal, David A. Ruhnke, Rogers’ attorney, told the AP. In order to convict Rogers, the jury was required to make a finding of fact that the murders took place in New Jersey.


Ruhnke told Gay City News in an earlier interview that the evidence on the Sakara and Anderson killings would also be an issue on appeal. That evidence tended to represent Rogers as a serial killer. The concern was that the jury would convict him on that basis and not on the Mulcahy and Marrero evidence.


“I think that’s exactly the message that the evidence sent and that the jury received, “ Ruhnke told Gay City News. “I think that was an enormously prejudicial decision by the judge and whether he was legally correct in making it is going to one of the primary appellate issues.”


Ruhnke has already filed notice of appeal in the case.


“We expect that in every case where there is a conviction,” Heisler said. “It’s routine.”


The New York City gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project welcomed the sentence.


“This is kind of a completion of a long struggle for two of the victim’s families,” said Clarence Patton, executive director of the gay victims group. “We don’t want to pile on, but what we would like to see is some of these additional cases get adjudicated so those families can get some measure of closure.”

 

20051110: Alleged serial killer shows strain on last day of trial NJ Toms River Serial Killer News
The accused "Last Call" serial killer seemed as though he were beginning to crack on the final day of his three-week trial in Ocean County, N.J.

Richard W. Rogers III wrung his hands, bounced his legs and grimaced at his attorney -- all in marked contrast to his previous composure -- as the lead investigator in the case testified yesterday.

A longtime Staten Islander, Rogers lived on Bridge Court in Fort Wadsworth, and worked as a pediatric nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan before his arrest on May 28, 2001.

He is on trial for the 1992 killing of Thomas R. Mulcahy, 58, of Sudbury, Mass., a computer salesman known to frequent gay bars during business trips, and the 1993 slaying of Anthony Marrero, 43, a reputed prostitute who worked the Port Authority Bus Terminal in 1993.

The case is being tried in New Jersey because the victims' mutilated bodies were found there.

Lt. Matthew Kuehn of the N.J. State Police testified yesterday that there was no evidence that Mulcahy or Marrero were killed on Staten Island.

A big break in the case came when the head and two arms of Michael Sakara of Manhattan were discovered July 31, 1993, off Route 9W in Haverstraw, N.Y., Kuehn testified. Sakara's legs and torso were found a week later, about eight miles north on Route 9W.

In previous testimony, bartender Lisa Hall placed Rogers with Sakara at the Five Oaks piano bar in the West Village early on July 30, 1993.

She said the man she recognized as Rogers came in the bar and sat next to Sakara, who introduced his new friend (allegedly Rogers) as Mark or John and said he was a nurse at St. Vincent's Hospital.

With that information, Kuehn went on the hunt and obtained employment photos of male nurses from area hospitals, including St. Vincent's in West Brighton and Mount Sinai.

Flipping through the stack of photos before the jury, Kuehn picked out Rogers and said he showed it to Ms. Hall in 1993; she immediately identified the man in the photo as the same man who was with Sakara the night he went missing.

Kuehn said he then cross-matched records of Rogers' work attendance at Mount Sinai, dating from 1979, and found that Rogers was off work on -- and immediately following -- the day that Mulcahy was last seen.

Rogers also was off on May 5 and 6, 1993. Marrero was last seen the night of May 4 or 5, 1993, and his body was discovered on May 10, 1993.

In the two other cases in which Rogers is a suspect but not charged -- Peter Anderson, whose body was found in Rapho Township, Pa., in 1991, the genitals cut off, and Sakara -- Rogers had time off on the relevant days, Kuehn testified.

Earlier testimony by forensics experts matched fingerprints found on bags containing the body parts of Mulcahy, Marrero and Anderson with those of Rogers.

David Ruhnke, Rogers' attorney, rebutted the scientific validity of the fingerprint identifications.

Ruhnke pointed out, as he has with other fingerprint experts throughout the trial, that fingerprint matches are known to have been wrong.

Specifically, Ruhnke used the example of the FBI's misidentification of attorney Brandon Mayfield of Portland, Ore., who was an initial suspect in the 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid.

The FBI was forced to admit its blunder and apologize after learning that the prints in that case were those of an Algerian man.

Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected to begin today.

John J. O'Brien covers state Supreme Court for the Advance. He may be reached at obrien@siadvance.com.

 

20051027: Gay Serial Killer Trial Begins Serial Killer News
A male nurse charged with killing, dismembering and then dumping the bodies of two gay men is innocent his lawyer charged as the trial of Richard W. Rogers opened in Toms River.

In his opening address to the jury attorney David Ruhnke said that police arrested the wrong man and suggested that his client's fingerprints prove he did nothing more than carry bags in which mutilated body parts were found. Ruhnke said that other fingerprints were found on the bags as well.

"Start thinking to yourself, maybe there's more than one person, or maybe Mr. Rogers just carried the bags," Ruhnke told the jury. "They promised to prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt the man who sits here . . . is the killer. Maybe they don't have the right guy."

Assistant Prosecutor William Heisler disputed Ruhnke's theory, telling jurors the true killer sat before them in court.

Rogers is charged with the killings of Thomas Mulcahy and Anthony E. Marrero.

The dismembered body of Mulcahy, 57, found in 1992.  Police say that Rogers killed the Sudbury, Mass. man, dismembered his body, placed pieces in garbage bags and dumped them along Route 72 and at a Garden State Parkway rest area.

The body parts of Marrero, a 44, New York man, were found May 10, 1993, on a road in Manchester Township.

Last month, the judge in the case ruled that the jury can also hear about the murders of gay men in two other states in which Rogers is implicated.

One of the murders was that of Michael Sakara, 55, of New York City.

Sakara's remains were found in plastic garbage bags in two locations in Rockland County, N.Y., nine days apart in the summer of 1993. His head and arms were found in one bag in Haverstraw, N.Y., his legs and torso in others in Stony Point, N.Y.

Prosecutors also will try to tie Rogers to the 1982 killing of Matthew J. Pierro in Lake Mary, Fla., while Rogers was in Florida to attend a college reunion.

Pierro was last seen leaving a gay bar in Orlando, Fla., on April 10, 1982 and turned up dead, stabbed in the heart and suffering extensive lacerations.

New Jersey police were stymied for almost a decade in finding a suspect in the two slayings in that state, even though they had fingerprints and other evidence.

Two years ago a 'cold file' law enforcement team resubmitted finger prints to a nationwide fingerprint database of criminal suspects and Rogers was identified.

He had been arrested in Maine early in the investigation but when the prints were originally submitted to the database a decade ago Maine was not part of the system and he was let go.

It was not his first brush with the law in Maine. He was arrested and stood trial in 1973 for the murder of his roommate, Frederick Spencer, who was struck on the head with a hammer, smothered with a plastic bag and dumped in a wooded area. Rogers claimed self-defense and was acquitted.

After the DNA evidence pointed to him he was arrested in New York City and taken to New Jersey where he has been in jail awaiting trial.

At the time of his arrest, Rogers was living in Staten Island and had been a registered nurse at Mount Sinai Medical Center for more than 20 years.

 

20051019: Accused serial killer is offered plea deal NJ Asbury Park Serial Killer News
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office has given accused serial killer Richard Rogers a short opportunity to accept an offer that would afford him a chance of getting out of prison within 15 years if he admits to two murders in New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania.

Rogers on Tuesday did not immediately take the deal, and jury selection began for his trial on charges that he killed two men whose dismembered bodies were found at roadside locations in trash bags in New Jersey in the early 1990s.

Rogers, 55, of Staten Island, a former surgical nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, is set to stand trial before Superior Court Judge James N. Citta for the murders of Thomas Mulcahy, 57, a bisexual businessman from Sudbury, Mass., and Anthony Marrero, 44, a homosexual prostitute from Manhattan.

William J. Heisler, chief trial attorney in the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, offered to downgrade the two murder charges to aggravated manslaughter and said he would recommend concurrent, 30-year prison terms, with parole eligibility after serving 15 years, if Rogers would plead guilty.

Heisler said he was authorized by the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania to extend him an offer of 10 to 20 years in prison if he would plead guilty to third-degree murder in the killing of Peter S. Anderson, 54, a homosexual investment banker from Philadelphia whose mutilated body was found in a trash barrel at a rest area on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on May 5, 1991.

Heisler also said he was authorized by the Rockland County, N.Y., District Attorney's Office to relay that it would not charge Rogers in the murder of Michael Sakara if he pleaded guilty to the murders of Mulcahy, Marrero and Anderson.

The dismembered body of Sakara, 55, a typesetter from Manhattan, was discovered over a nine-day period in July and August of 1993 in garbage bags at two locations along Route 9W in Rockland County, N.Y.

Mulcahy's remains were found at two locations in New Jersey on July 10, 1992: at the state Department of Transportation's Red Lion Maintenance Yard at routes 70 and 206 in Woodland Township, Burlington County, and in trash barrels at the Stafford Forge Rest Area on the Garden State Parkway in Stafford, Ocean County.

Marrero's remains were found in bags on Crow Hill Road in Manchester, Ocean County, on May 10, 1993.

Heisler said if Rogers took the plea offer, prison terms for each of the three killings to which Rogers would be required to admit would run concurrent to one another.

Heisler would not comment afterward on why he made the plea offer to Rogers.

The judge told Rogers he would likely face 60 years in prison without parole if convicted of the two New Jersey murders. Citta also told Rogers that because he would be given credit for time he has already served in the Ocean County Jail awaiting trial since his arrest May 28, 2001, and that he would also be given commutation credits and credit for good behavior, he could be considered for parole as soon as 10 or 11 years from now.

Citta also told Rogers that based on evidence introduced at pretrial hearings last month, "In my view, the state is going to convince 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt that Richard Rogers is guilty of the murders of both of these individuals."

Citta reminded Rogers that the evidence includes his fingerprints on garbage bags containing the body parts of the two New Jersey victims and the victim in Pennsylvania, and testimony that Sakara was last seen alive with him. Citta added the evidence includes that the saw and saw blade believed to be used to dismember the bodies, as well as some of the plastic bags in which some body parts were packaged, were traced to a mall on Staten Island located close to Rogers' home.

When Citta was finished explaining the potential outcome of a trial, Rogers responded politely, "I appreciate the advice that you've given me. I will take it under consideration."

Jury selection for the trial began minutes later.

Heisler said Rogers has until completion of jury selection to accept the offer.

In addition to the murders of Mulcahy, Marrero, Anderson and Sakara, Rogers also is a suspect in the murder of Matthew John Pierro, 21, of Bloomfield, whose body was found in bushes off Interstate Highway 4 in Lake Mary, Fla., on April 10, 1982, with a bite mark that dentists said was made by Rogers. Rogers has only been charged with the New Jersey murders.
 

20051017: Accused serial killer Rogers offered a deal NJ Asbury Park Serial Killer News
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office today offered accused serial killer Richard Rogers the possibility of being paroled from prison within 15 years if he would admit killing three people -- two in New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania.

Rogers, however, did not immediately take the deal, and jury selection began on charges that Rogers killed two men whose dismembered bodies were found at roadside locations in trash
bags in New Jersey in the early 1990s.

Rogers, 55, of Staten Island, a former surgical nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, is standing trial before Superior Court Judge James N. Citta for the murders of Thomas Mulcahy, 57, a bisexual businessman from Sudbury, Mass., and Anthony Marrero, 44, a homosexual prostitute from Manhattan.

William J. Heisler, chief trial attorney in the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, offered to downgrade the two murder charges to aggravated manslaughter and said he would recommend
concurrent, 30-year prison terms, with parole eligibility after serving 15 years, if Rogers would plead guilty.

Heisler said he was authorized by the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania to extend him an offer of 10 to 20 years in prison if he would plead guilty to third-degree murder of Peter S. Anderson, 54, a homosexual investment banker from Philadelphia whose mutilated body was found in a trash barrel at a rest area on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on May 5, 1991.
 

20050930: Dismemberment Trial To Hear Of Other Gay Murders NJ Toms River Serial Killer News
A Superior Court judge in Toms River ruled Thursday that the jury in the trial of a man accused of killing two gay men in New Jersey can also hear about the murders of gay men in Pennsylvania and New York.

Defense attorneys for Richard W. Rogers had sought to keep the out-of-state killings from being entered into evidence.

Rogers is charged with the killings of Thomas Mulcahy and Anthony E. Marrero.

The dismembered body of Mulcahy, 57, found in 1992.  Police say that Rogers killed the Sudbury, Mass. man, dismembered his body, placed pieces in garbage bags and dumped them along Route 72 and at a Garden State Parkway rest area.

The body parts of Marrero, a 44, New York man, were found May 10, 1993, on a road in Manchester Township.

The trial is set to begin next month.

Ocean County Executive Assistant Prosecutor William J. Heisler filed a motion with Superior Court Judge James Citta asking to present evidence in three other killings whose deaths bear similarities to the slayings Rogers is accused of committing.

"It's to prove Rogers' identity and his modus operandi," Heisler said.

One of the murders prosecutors want the jury to hear about was that of Michael Sakara, 55, of New York City. 

Sakara's remains were found in plastic garbage bags in two locations in Rockland County, N.Y., nine days apart in the summer of 1993. His head and arms were found in one bag in Haverstraw, N.Y., his legs and torso in others in Stony Point, N.Y.

Prosecutors also will try to tie the 1982 killing of Matthew J. Pierro in Lake Mary, Fla., while Rogers was in Florida to attend a college reunion.

Pierro was last seen leaving a gay bar in Orlando, Fla., on April 10, 1982 and turned up dead, stabbed in the heart and suffering extensive lacerations.

But the third murder, that of Matthew John Pierro of Bloomfield, was not similar enough to the other cases to be allowed at trial, judge Citta ruled.

New Jersey police were stymied for almost a decade in finding a suspect in the two slayings in that state, even though they had fingerprints and other evidence.

Two years ago a 'cold file' law enforcement team resubmitted finger prints to a nationwide fingerprint database of criminal suspects and Rogers was identified.

He had been arrested in Maine early in the investigation but when the prints were originally submitted to the database a decade ago Maine was not part of the system and he was let go.

It was not his first brush with the law in Maine. He was arrested and stood trial in 1973 for the murder of his roommate, Frederick Spencer, who was struck on the head with a hammer, smothered with a plastic bag and dumped in a wooded area. Rogers claimed self-defense and was acquitted.

After the DNA evidence pointed to him he was arrested in New York City and taken to New Jersey where he has been in jail awaiting trial.

At the time of his arrest, Rogers was living in Staten Island and had been a registered nurse at Mount Sinai Medical Center for more than 20 years. 

 


Copyright 1995-2006 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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