Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Glen Rogers, the Cross-Country Killer

The California Trial

In July 1997, the State of California indicted Rogers on counts of first-degree murder and arson.  The governors of California and Florida reached an agreement that would extradite Rogers to California to stand trial.  Afterward, he'd be transported to Florida to serve his sentence.  In October, he found himself once again in Los Angeles, to stand trial for strangling Sandra Gallagher and leaving her body in her burning automobile.  The judge allowed evidence from the murders in other states because they showed his pattern.

On June 16, 1999, Rogers took the stand in his trial to insist on his innocence in the Gallagher murder.  He said that a business associate, Istvan "Steve" Kele, was the real killer.  He claimed that the last time he had seen Gallagher, she was alive and with Kele, who was on parole for shooting a maintenance man in 1972.  He went back to prison for violating parole, but at the time of the murder, he was free.  Rogers further stated that after leaving the apartment with Gallagher, Kele then called Rogers to report that he had killed Gallagher. 

However, at this point, Rogers was prohibited from saying anything more about that conversation.  He did indicate that he did not believe what Kele had said, although he admitted that he "kind of felt that she was [dead] and was upset about it."

In closing arguments, Prosecutor Pat Dixon referred to his performance on the stand as "false, syrupy, sweet, sick."  She claimed that the murder was premeditated, not an act of passion as the defense attorney suggested, and therefore should be punished as aggravated murder.

After four days of deliberation, on June 22, 1999, the jury convicted Rogers of the murder, and a few weeks later sentenced him to die.  That August, he was transported back to the control of Florida's Department of Corrections.

He still had to face charges in the murder in Jackson, Mississippi, and while he was a suspect in a murder in Bossier City, Louisiana, charges were not filed.  As long as he faced two death sentences, enough seemed enough.

 

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