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When “Cold Justice” returns to Oxygen on Saturday, September 3, veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler and her seasoned fellow investigators are back to digging deep into unsolved homicides that have hung in limbo for years and even decades.
That’s what Siegler and her rotating roster of investigators — Steve Spingola, Tonya Rider, and Abbey Abbondandolo – do. And they’re good at it. Working alongside local law enforcement, “Cold Justice” has taken on 100 cases in 89 cities/counties in 27 states.
Where they go varies, but what they’re after stays constant: Getting justice. These efforts have helped lead to 55 arrests and 21 convictions.
Here are five cases they’ve worked on recently in which they’ve helped secure arrests.
A man and his 78-year-old mom gunned down in South Carolina
On June 21, 2020, Gene Rogers, 61, and his mother, Billie Rogers, 78, were found shot to death in their mobile home in Chester County, South Carolina. Their bodies were found by Gene’s step-grandson Gene “Alex” Scott, 24, who was in the Army and stationed in Germany at the time of the “Cold Justice” investigation.
Evidence turned up by a digital forensics expert revealed at the time of the murders Alex searched the internet about detecting gunshot residue, the death penalty, and life insurance payouts. Alex Scott was arrested on October 23, 2021.
At this time, Scott is still being held at the Chester County Detention Center awaiting trial. A trial date has not been set, according to the Chester County Sheriff’s Office.
A 91-year-old grandmother stabbed to death in Mississippi
Circumstantial and DNA evidence, including genetic material on Jordan’s nightgown, along with advances in technology, led to the arrest of the victim’s grandson, 47-year-old Sergio Williams. He was charged with the crime on Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021.
“We are awaiting a trial date,” Capt. Rhonda Poche-Johnson told Oxygen.com.
Aspiring policeman shot in the head in Florida
Keith Alan Jones, a 27-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran and recent police academy graduate, was robbed and shot in the head in a Fort Myers, Florida motel room in 1997. His murder remained unsolved until “Cold Justice” got involved.
The key to getting a break in the case was what Siegler called “old-fashioned” legwork — and turning up witnesses willing to talk who had valuable, useful information. The team found two such witnesses whose statements both revolved around Michelle Ashley, a dancer at a local gentlemen’s club.
On October 22, 2019, Ashley, then 42, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. The case has a trial call date set for August 29, 2022, according to the State Attorney’s Office communications director.
A volunteer fireman shot to death in Missouri
Ricky Luebbert, a 42-year-old volunteer fireman, was murdered on Nov. 10, 2007 at his home in Texas County, near Tyrone, Missouri. A neighbor discovered his body three days later, according to a 2007 Houston Herald story.
At the time of the murder, Tommy Whetzell, 63, was identified as a person of interest.
On June 29, 2022,the Texas County Sheriff's department arrested Whetzell for the 2007 murder. The “Cold Justice” team had worked on the case with local law enforcement several months earlier. A trial date has not been set, according to local law enforcement.
18-year-old stabbed to death in North Dakota
Anita Knutson was an 18-year-old student at Minot State University in Minota, North Dakota when she was stabbed to death in her apartment in 2007. Her body was discovered by her father, who checked on her after she failed to respond to his messages.
The case captured national attention but stalled for 15 years. In March 2022, the Minot Police arrested 34-year-old Nichole Rice, who was living with Knutson at the time of her murder. Rice was at work at the Minot Air Force Base at the time of her arrest.
In a March 2022 Minot Daily News article, local Police Chief John Klug cited help from “Cold Justice” in helping to “move forward” on the case.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 8, a deputy district clerk confirmed.
To learn more about the work of the intrepid team of investigators and how they are helping local law enforcement move other cases forward, watch “Cold Justice,” which returns to Oxygen on Saturday, September 3 at 8/7c.
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