An Aryan Brotherhood leader in Texas was sentenced to life in prison Friday for torturing a Hispanic man to death by drilling holes in his head and burning him with silverware.
Michael Lynn Rogers, 48, was convicted of capital murder for killing Alberto Gonzalez, 43, at a house in west Dallas in July 2016, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Before the verdict was read, jurors asked if their names were going to be released publicly. More than 15 bailiffs were in the room as the verdict was read, to ensure jurors' safety as they left the courthouse.
People who spoke in the trial were fearful, according to the Morning News, and one man who testified against Rogers said the white supremacist gang wants to murder him for doing so. The man said Rogers, who was known as "Texas Mike," is the second highest ranking member in the region.
Two other men were also charged with Gonzalez's murder: Gregory Collier, 29, and John Paul Street, 33. Collier is a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and Street is a member of another supremacist gang, The White Knights, authorities said.
Collier, as part of a plea deal, testified against Rogers and got 10 years for a kidnapping charge. Street's court date hasn't been set.
Gonzalez was at Rogers' house, along with members of the Hispanic gang Tango Blast, and also the knights, when Rogers accused Gonzalez of stealing $600 and his wallet.
Collier testified that Rogers was upset about his missing wallet, but eventually Rogers decided to let Gonzalez mow his lawn for a month. However, Rogers changed his tune and the torture began.
Street allegedly bashed Gonzalez's legs with a hammer. Gonzalez’s face was burned with a hot spoon, authorities say. Collier's girlfriend testified that she heard Rogers yelling about his wallet while Gonzalez cried out for help.
"You've got the wrong person," Gonzalez said, according to Collier's girlfriend.
That's when the drilling began, authorities said. Gonzalez was drilled in the head four times, and once in the chest and once in his abdomen. Then, Collier testified, they put the body in a toolbox and dumped it in a pond.
When authorities found Gonzalez’s body, they said he had also been sexually assaulted with a broom handle and hit with a machete.
In court, Rogers said Street was mostly responsible for the killing, and that he wished he called police sooner. He said Gonzalez had some sort of speech issue, and that he felt bad for him.
"I'm big-hearted with people like that," Rogers said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Rogers’ sentence has no possibility of parole.
[Photo: Dallas County Jail]
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