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Ore. serial killer Rogers sentenced to death for 4th time

Dayton Leroy Rogers, Oregon's most prolific serial killer, was sentenced the death for the fourth time after another resentencing trial Clackamas County Circuit Court Monday.
Dayton Leroy Rogers in 2008.

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- Dayton Leroy Rogers, Oregon's most prolific serial killer, was sentenced the death for the fourth time after another resentencing trial Clackamas County Circuit Court Monday.

Rogers was convicted in 1989 of killing six women two years earlier. Since then, the court has three times struck down death sentences imposed on him.

On Friday, his attorneys in closing statements asked for the jury to grant him life in prison, saying Rogers is "humiliated and full of shame" and that he is not a danger to people in prison.

The prosecution had asked for the death penalty, saying Rogers is a danger to people both inside and outside of prison, and that his victims and their families deserve justice.

Prosecutors pointed out that the former Canby lawnmower repairman tortured, stabbed and mutilated his victims, dumping them in a forest near Molalla in Clackamas County. Seven victims were found at that site. One of them was finally identified in 2013.

Before that murder case, he was also found guilty of murdering a woman whose body was found in 1987 in parking lot behind an Oak Grove Denny's restaurant. 

The Oregon Supreme Court struck down Rogers' death sentences in 1992, 2000 and 2012. The first time was to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated Oregon's death penalty law.

In 2000, the Oregon high court ruled that the jury incorrectly considered only the options of death and life in prison with the possibility of parole. There should have been a third choice: life without the chance of parole.

In 2012, the justices said jury selection was done improperly and the judge incorrectly allowed evidence of Rogers' gay experiences as a teenager.

Though it is rare to have four separate sentencing trials, it's not unprecedented.

For example, Randy Lee Guzek was sentenced to death three times for killing a central Oregon couple in 1987, and each time the penalty was overturned. A jury imposed it for a fourth time in 2010, and it has stuck.

Rogers' first known attack was at age 18 in 1972, when he stabbed a 15-year-old Eugene girl after taking her to a wooded area to have sex. In 1973, after striking two girls with a soda bottle, he was sent to the state mental hospital. After his release in 1974, Rogers' crimes continued for more than a decade.

At his 2006 sentencing trial, Rogers argued that he was changed a man after nearly two decades in prison.

"There is never a day that I don't struggle from the very core of my heart and soul over the despicable acts I've committed," Rogers said.

After the latest court proceedings, Rogers attorneys said they planned to file a motion for a mistrial based on a violation of jury rules. They claim that the jury foreman posted on social media about the trial.  Blog posts were entered into evidence and a judge will decide on a retrial at a later date once the motion is filed.

That could mean Rogers would go up for his 4th appeal.

Governor Kate Brown announced shortly after taking office early this year that she will continue former Governor John Kitzhaber's moratorium on the death penalty in Oregon.

On Saturday, spokeswoman Kristen Grainger said, "Governor Brown has asked her general counsel to consult various experts, including those directly involved with the implementation of the death penalty in Oregon, and advise her how to proceed. That process is underway."

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