iOS app Android app More

Dayton Leroy Rogers, Serial Killer With Bizarre Foot Fetish, Could Escape Execution


First Posted: 01/03/12 02:20 PM ET Updated: 01/03/12 03:10 PM ET

The Oregon state Supreme Court is preparing to review the death sentence handed serial killer Dayton Leroy Rogers nearly 23 years ago. The brutal murderer, who police say had a penchant for sawing off his victim’s feet, escaped the death penalty on two previous occasions.

The case will be heard on Jan. 12 by four of the court's seven current members. The remaining members stepped away because they have previously worked for the Oregon Department of Justice. A recently retired justice will temporarily join the panel to hear the case, the Associated Press reported.

Rogers, 58, was convicted of killing eight women in two separate trials in the late 1980s.

The first trial took place in February 1988. Rogers, who had pleaded not guilty, was accused of the brutal 1987 murder of Jenny Smith. According to evidence presented at trial, Rogers picked up the 26-year-old prostitute early one morning off a street in Clackamas County. The two went to a parking lot in the suburbs of Portland, where Rogers attacked her with a kitchen knife.

Rogers fled when two onlookers came running over after hearing Smith scream. The young woman was transported to a local hospital, where she later died from her injuries. During autopsy, medical examiners found that Smith had been stabbed nearly a dozen times in the chest, abdomen and vagina. Her throat was also slit.

Authorities zeroed in on Rogers when one of the witnesses provided police with the license plate number of the suspect's vehicle.

On Feb. 20, 1988, after several weeks of testimony in the case, Rogers was found guilty of killing Smith. Two weeks later, he was sentenced to life in prison.

Rogers escaped the death penalty in the first case. However, following his arrest for Smith's murder, police found evidence linking him to the murders of Riatha Gyles, 16; Cynthia Devore, 20; Lisa Marie Mock, 23; Maureen Ann Hodges, 26; Nondace "Noni" Cervantes, 26; and Christine Lotus Adams, 35.

All of the victims, who were found nude and in varying stages of decomposition, had been tortured and stabbed to death. In most cases, the victim's feet had been removed at the ankle while they were still alive, the Crime Library reported.

According to Gary C. King, author of the 1992 book Blood Lust: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer, the case was, at that time, considered the worst serial murders in Oregon's history.

The murders, dubbed the "Molalla Forest Killings," included a seventh, still unidentified victim. Despite the belief by law enforcement that Rogers killed that victim, he was not charged in the case.


Loading Slideshow...
  • Jeffrey Dahmer

    Notorious cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer sits with his defense team during his 1991 trial. Dahmer went on a killing spree in the 1980s during which he murdered 17 men and boys. He often had sex with the corpses before dismembering them and, in some cases, ate pieces of human flesh. After his conviction, Dahmer was killed by a fellow inmate in prison.

  • John Wayne Gacy

    John Wayne Gacy was arrested in 1978 after murdering 33 men and boys. He was known as the "Killer Clown" for his work as a children's entertainer. When Gacy became the suspect in a young man's disappearance, he invited police to his home for coffee. Cops noticed a smell that could emanate from a decaying body. They returned with a search warrant and found 29 victims stuffed into crawlspaces.

  • David Berkowitz

    David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" killer, terrorized New York with six murders and several other shootings that ended with his 1977. When police arrested him, Berkowitz, a mailman, said his neighbor's dog commanded him to strike. He's in Sing Sing prison In New York serving life, though he's eligible for parole.

  • Angelo Buono

    Angelo Buono, a 47 year old auto upholsterer, sits in a Los Angeles courtroom Monday March 2, 1982 as he listens to opening arguments in the so called "Hillside Stranglings" case in which Buono is accused of killing 10 women and girls in the Los Angeles area between 1977 and 1978.

  • Ted Bundy

    Ted Bundy at one time in the 1970s had a bright future in the Washington State Republican Party, but instead became one of the most famous serial killers and necrophiliacs. He often deceived his victims, all women, into thinking that he was injured and in need of help before attacking them. In 1976 he was arrested for an attempted kidnapping, but while acting as his own lawyer, he escaped. He migrated to Tallahassee where he killed two women in a Florida State University sorority house. He was convicted of those murders and while on death row in 1989 he confessed to 50 other murders. <em><strong>Correction</strong>: A previous version of this slide misstated the location of the Florida State murders as Pensacola, Fla.</em>

  • Aileen Wuornos

    Aileen Wuornos admitted to killing six men while she worked as a prostitute in Florida in 1989 and 1990. She initially claimed that she acted in self defense against johns who raped her or tried to rape her. But later she admitted that she robbed and killed in cold blood and would do it again if she were free. She was executed in 2002.

  • Anthony Sowell

    Anthony Sowell was convicted and sentenced to death in 2011 for killing 11 women and keeping their remains in his Cleveland home.

  • Richard Ramirez

    In this file photo taken Oct. 24, 1985, "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez displays a pentagram symbol on his hand inside a Los Angeles courtroom. The California Supreme Court Monday< Aug. 7, 2006, upheld the convictions and death sentence for serial killer Richard Ramirez, the so-called "Night Stalker" whose killing spree terrorized the Los Angeles area in the mid 1980s. Ramirez, now 46, was sentenced to death in 1989 for 13 Los Angeles-area murders committed in 1984 and 1985. Satanic symbols were left at some murder scenes and some victims were forced to "swear to Satan" by the killer, who broke into homes through unlocked windows and doors. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

  • Andrew Cunanan

    Andrew Cunanan is seen in this 1997 mugshot from the FBI. Cunanan murdered five men from Minneapolis to Miami, including fashion designer Gianni Versace. As investigators closed in on him, Cunanan committed suicide in 1997.

  • Ed Gein

    Edward Gein, 51, of Plainfield, Wisc. enters Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane Nov. 23,1957, in Milwaukee. Gein admitted to slaying two women and dismembering their bodies as well as robbing graves. Gein flayed the bodies and used human skin and other body parts to decorate furniture and clothing in his decrepit farmhouse. His twisted tale was the inspiration for murders in movies like Buffalo Bill from "The Silence of the Lambs."

  • Gary Ridgway

    Gary Ridgeway slew 48 women in the Seattle area from 1982 to 1998. He was known as the Green River Killer, because his first five victims were found near the waterway. The case was one of the longest unsolved murder mysteries in the country, not to mention one of the bloodiest. Ridgeway pleaded guilty in 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

  • Albert Fish

    Albert Fish was a child rapist and cannibal who confessed to torturing hundreds of children, beginning in 1880 in New York. He was convicted in and sentenced to death in 1935 for the murder of a single girl however -- Grace Budd, the 10-year-old daughter of Fish's employee. During the trial, Fish said he heard voices in his head that told him to attack children.

  • Coral Eugene Watts

    Early on his life, Coral Eugene Watts was identified by psychiatrists as a dangerous and violent individual. He lived up to those warnings as the so-called Sunday Morning Slasher and confessed to killing 80 women in Michigan, Texas and Canada in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He strangled, drowned, stabbed and beat his victims. He died in 2007 in prison from prostate cancer while serving a life sentence for two of the Michigan murders.

  • Richard Angelo

    Richard Angelo, a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in New York, killed 25 patients in a bungled plan to turn himself into a hero. Angelo injected patients with a cocktail of dangerous drugs with the plan of restoring them to life and burnishing his reputation as a life-saving medical professional. Only 12 patients survived the "Angel of Death."

  • Joseph Naso

    This is an undated booking photo released by the Washoe County Sheriff's office showing Joseph Naso. Authorities in California and Nevada plan to release more information about Naso, the 77-year-old man accused in four homicides spanning two decades. Naso, of Reno, Nev., was booked late Monday, April 11, 2011, on suspicion of the killings in 1977, 1978, 1993 and 1994.

Rogers pleaded not guilty to each count of murder and his trial began in March 1989 and Rogers was found guilty of aggravated murder on all counts in May 1988. The following month he was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

According to the Statesman Journal, the Oregon Supreme Court has twice overturned Rogers' death sentence due to legal technicalities. In each instance, the sentence was reinstated by a Clackamas County jury. Rogers' latest death sentence, now under automatic review, dates back to 2006.

At the time of his arrest, Rogers was a married father of one and a small business owner. Today, Rogers is incarcerated at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem where, according to the Oregonian, he works as an inmate barber.