Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Glen Rogers, the Cross-Country Killer

A Killer's Life

As is often the case with such men, people were curious as to how Rogers could have become a multiple murderer.  We'll start from the beginning.  Rogers was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio, a southwestern town near the Erie Canal.  Linedecker provides details about his early family life, as does Spizer, in her "as-told-to" account from Claude, Jr., 13 years his senior.

Glen's parents, Edna and Claude Rogers Sr.
Glen's parents, Edna and Claude Rogers Sr.

Claude does a decent job, if sometimes too pat, of describing incidents that, collectively may well have influenced Rogers to become the explosive type of killer he was.  Born to parents well past the time they had raised his six bothers and sisters, Glen had a difficult birth and suffered from sleeping disorders, ADHD and repeated head-banging.  He was impulsive and seemed always to be in motion, but more importantly, he had a difficult time digesting stress, and he reacted in anger to the constant abuse, neglect, and deprivation that his family suffered — mostly at the hands of his parents. He indulged in substance abuse at a young age, with both alcohol and drugs.

The Rogers children 1975, Glen in front row, center.
The Rogers children 1975, Glen in front row, center.

His mother, in particular, was said to be mean.  On one occasion, Claude says, she dunked Glen's head underwater for fooling around with his brother in the bathtub, and he nearly drowned.  (Claude also points out that it's not coincidental that two victims were stabbed to death in bathtubs.)  Another time, Edna nearly smothered him, and once, she stressed out while in the car with the kids and decided they should all just die.  She sped toward the edge of a cliff, but didn't complete the action.  She apparently thought her bullying was the way to control her children's behavior, and while the others did not end up becoming serial killers, Glen, with his impulsive, reactive nature, apparently twisted his anger into a solid knot.  In later life, women with reddish hair would trigger it, and they suffered for what he probably had wanted to do to his mother when he was a boy.

Perhaps just as important was the day Glen got into trouble in school, and Edna came in to find out who had victimized him.  Blaming others was an attitude she modeled, which Rogers picked up on and carried into all of his crimes: He was not responsible, someone else was.  Nevertheless, by age 11, he was in reform school.


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