Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Glen Rogers, the Cross-Country Killer

Problems with Women

Rogers dropped out of high school and married a woman named Debbie, with whom he had two sons, and he tattooed Debbie's name onto the top of his right hand.  At the time, Rogers worked as a cab driver for Ohio Taxi.  In Hamilton, he built up quite a police record, from assault to driving infractions to forgery and arson.  He even once threatened the police with a blowtorch, which got him three months in jail.  He had a short temper, and beat up his wife on several occasions. That marriage ended.  Debbie got a court order barring him from her and the boys, and eventually she moved to Texas.

Rogers married again to a woman named Paula, but she was a brunette, not a redhead.  He drove cabs and apparently took Ritalin, a stimulant.  Later in life, he worked his way across the country in traveling carnivals, primarily the Farrow Amusement and Charles companies.  In general, he set up and broke down rides, or hawked food, living hand to mouth.  He was a drifter, but also had reason to leave a number of places.  Spizer says, "The police recorded a total of 52 arrests, traffic stops, and citations against Glen Rogers between April 10, 1990 and October 12, 1993."

During one of his jail stints in the 1980s, Rogers was diagnosed with porphyria, an enzyme deficiency that causes a defect in the bone marrow that inhibits the oxygen-carrying blood cells.  Sufferers experience an extreme sensitivity to light.  Linedecker says that perhaps that's why darkened barrooms appealed to him.

(It should be noted that there's an odd tension in the book by Rogers and Spitzer; Claude seems to want to find excuses for his brother and even to exonerate him from the murders, but at the same time, one gets the impression that the more murders that can be attributed to Glen Rogers the better, which is possibly Spitzer's influence; certainly one of them hints that he may have committed some of the murders attributed to the Green River Killer and also makes a strong case that he murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.  However, some of the facts of these cases are stated in error.  In any event, the impression from reading this account of Rogers is a jarring sense of ambivalence about his status as a killer — perhaps worse than we realize.)

Rogers seemed always to have trouble with women, brutalizing any with whom he got involved.  He was now going to pay the price for believing he could freely take out his rage on innocent victims, living or dead.  The states were he killed were seeking to bring him to trial.  But he was also eyed in another murder, in fact a double homicide, because O. J. Simpson, acquitted in a criminal trial for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, was heading to the civil courtroom, sued by the victims' families for wrongful death.


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