When dismembered body parts started showing up in body bags alongside highways in New Jersey and New York in the early ’90s, the authorities didn’t know whom to blame. It was almost one decade later when, due to advanced fingerprint technology, they were able to find a match with someone who had been fingerprinted once before, in Maine: Richard Rogers.
Rogers isn’t the most well-known of serial killers. He favored gay men he would pick up at bars. His MO involved “disarticulation” — separating the bones at their joints — a clinical procedure for which he had plenty of experience as a surgical nurse.
He had gotten off scot-free for years, until a victim’s wife reached out to a lieutenant for an update. Lieutenant Kuehn sent off the bags, and in the re-run, they found 33 prints. But what had Rogers done in Maine that made the final connection?
When Rogers was a graduate student at the University of Maine in Orono in 1973, he faced trial for killing his housemate with a hammer, according to The New York Times. Claiming self-defense, Rogers was acquitted.
What really happened on that university campus in the chilly northeast? “Mark of a Killer,” streaming now on Oxygen.com, examines the case.
“The guy I knew he wouldn’t hurt that cockroach that was on his suitcase,“ said Don Cubberly, Rogers’ college roommate —describing him as mild-mannered, quiet and well-dressed.
Cubberly described his former roommate’s closet as very neat.
“It was almost like a Marine’s closet,” said the man who lived with Rogers four-and-a-half decades ago. “It was all lined up with sports coats. All the pants were hanging on hangers. And then the shirts were after that.”
Cubberly said after he and Rogers parted ways, Roger got a new roommate, a 22-year-old man named Frederick A. Spencer.
“They were attached at the hip,” Cubberly remembered. “Everybody said they were probably gay.”
Rogers was 22 when he made headlines such as “Roomate [sic] Held in Maine Slaying of Norwich Man.”
Rogers told authorities that the victim came at him with a hammer after Rogers rejected him sexually.
Even though the jury bought Rogers’ defense, his prints remained on file — leading to his arrest and subsequent sentencing to at least 65 years in prison
“Mark of a Killer” explores the method and the madness of infamous serial killers — and some you may not have heard of, like the quiet Staten Island nurse, Richard W. Rogers. Watch it on Oxygen.
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