Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When Laws Protect Criminals Innocent People Get Hurt

By LISA DEMER, ZAZ HOLLANDER AND ELIZABETH BLUEMINK Anchorage Daily News Published: December 4, 2007

Suspect 'just wanted to kill a few more people'
Christopher Erin Rogers Jr. says he hacked his father to death with a machete in Palmer, stole his dad's truck, fled to Anchorage and continued a 26-hour crime rampage that left two dead and three others wounded because he was angry with his family, according to charges filed Monday.

Christopher Erin Rogers Jr. -- Erin to his family -- has a lengthy criminal record in Palmer and Anchorage, including attempted arson, driving while intoxicated and domestic violence, according to court documents.

The 28-year-old describes himself as a construction worker.

When the rampage began early Sunday, Rogers was out on bail for a felony drunken driving charge. He was supposed to be under the watch of his father and his father's girlfriend, court-approved custodians who lived outside Palmer on Gunnysack Road.

But in a fit of anger Sunday morning, the younger Rogers attacked his father, Christopher Rogers Sr., and girlfriend, Elann Moren, with a machete, according to Alaska State Troopers. Before the 26 hours of violence ended in Anchorage around 7:30 a.m. Monday, the elder Rogers and an Anchorage graduate student were dead and four more people were injured, including a police officer.

As a young teenager, Rogers twice was in trouble for theft, with cases handled through the juvenile system. He graduated from the Alaska National Guard Youth Corps Challenge Program, which is supposed to help problem kids turn their lives around.

In April 1999, when he was almost 20, he set two fires on the same day in Eagle River, according to a charging document that accused him of arson. He and a friend were walking around bored, he told police.

"He has done a lot to turn his life in another direction," Landers, who since has died, wrote to the judge. But he added: "I do feel that his attitude does need improvement and I do feel that this is due to growing up in a broken family."

That May, Rogers pleaded no contest to attempted arson, and the judge sentenced him to two years' probation. Years later, his conviction was set aside.

But he didn't stay out of trouble. He was convicted of domestic violence assault in 2000 and got five years' probation.

The next year, he accused his mother of threatening him and his girlfriend and sought a restraining order.

He wrote in his petition that his mother subjected him to "emotional and psychological abuse, playing mind games." He said his mother stopped by the KFC in Eagle River where he worked to start arguments about his girlfriend. She called both of them foul names, he claimed. The young couple had a son, and he didn't want his mother to see the boy, his petition said. She needed a "mental health exam," he wrote.

Then in 2004, Rogers was convicted of drunken driving and resisting arrest after a wreck. His blood-alcohol content was .175, double the legal limit for driving, according to court records. He got a few days in jail and three years of probation.

Last year in Palmer, he was convicted of harassment after a woman accused him of beating her in front of her three children. The woman suffered a sprained arm as well as extensive bruises, according to a trooper's affidavit. He got two years' probation.

In July, a trooper investigator discovered Rogers Jr. 200 yards down a trail off Sullivan Road in the Butte, passed out behind the wheel of a 1982 Chevrolet pickup, keys in the ignition, an open vodka bottle nearby and numerous full Jack Daniel's shot bottles in the car. He was arrested for felony drunken driving.

The next month, a Palmer magistrate approved Rogers Sr. and Moren as court-approved custodians for him, according to court documents.

In October, an Anchorage judge issued a warrant for his arrest. City prosecutors wanted him jailed for failing to show up for alcohol abuse treatment in the 2004 drunken driving case.


Find Lisa Demer online at or call 257-4390. Find Elizabeth Bluemink online at or call 257-4317. Find Zaz Hollander online at or 1-907-352-6711.

Abridged for E.A. =>>


Anonymous said...

Who were these judges

Who were these judges that imposed sentences of probation? They need to be held accountable. It happens every day that judges suspend sentences. What is the point of giving a sentence at all if it is going to be suspended? The general public needs a system to monitor past rulings by judges and hold them accountable so they can be removed from the bench.

Anonymous said...

It just shows what a joke our justice system has become. Too bad it can't be sued for being the cause of so many deaths and misery.

Anonymous said...

The justice system?

The justice system is obviously broken if one person is able to repeatedly break the law. MINIMAL jail time was not served. Obviously, this man knew the law has no teeth.

Now, innocent people are dead, and the alleged criminal is alive. Where is the justice? Where will it end?

Anonymous said...

Violated probation several times.

Why wasn't he serving sentences related to convictions since he violated probation several times?

Anonymous said...

The Death Penalty!

This is why we need the death penalty. This is cut and dry.