"You are an evil human being" - Judge Citta to convicted killer Richard Rogers
I've been remiss in reporting it here, but I've been following the twist and turns in the capture and trial of serial killer Richard Rogers Jr. In case you don't know of it, several gay men disappeared around 1992, '93. At least two turned up dismembered and in plastic bags along the Jersey highway. Many of the men were last seen at different NYC gay bars, among them the now-closed Five Oaks and my former place of employment The Townhouse. I was in New York at the time and I was an occasional patron at The Oaks. Although I don't remember being particularly personally worried about the situation, I thought we had enough to deal with what with AIDS and all, why let a serial killer make things worse?
I do remember The Townhouse being linked to the case but forgot it by the time I started working there, almost 10 years later. That is, until the investigation was reopened or revisited, I don't know which, and Mr. Rogers was first arrested. Suddenly the case made all the papers, gay and mainstream, as he was linked to, but never charged with, up to five (if not more) deaths over the years. As investigators tried to build a case for the bodies they had, they also attempted to solve some other disappearences. Naturally, they came back to the scene.
I know for a fact I talked to a pair of Jersey State Troopers. I'm pretty sure I spoke to a couple of NYPD investigators as well. There was maybe one other time I talked to a solo detective. It was the strangest thing. Because I wasn't even working there at that time. I knew of a couple people who had been, including a piano player that opened the place. I think one of the bartenders was around then as well. The only thing I could tell the detectives is what they told me. So I did. Still, they wanted me to answer questions so answer them I did. Most of my answers were of the "I don't know" variety but I didn't want to seem uncooperative.
In any case, this week Richard Rogers Jr. was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murders they could link to him, plus an additional 10 years for the gruesome action of dumping the bodies in pieces. His laywer claims there will be an appeal.