Richard W. Rogers is a convicted murderer of 2 men who were found dismembered in trash bags throughout various counties in New York and in New Jersey. The smoking gun in the case was largely based on fingerprint comparison, finding Richard’s prints on multiple garbage bags which contained the human remains. With that said there was not much else in the way of evidence or motive that ties Rogers to the crime. No murder weapon, no blood in his apartment or car, nothing. Despite the lack of evidence, Rogers pattern seemed to fit. For decades death followed Rogers. While appearing unassuming and kind in photos, almost harmless, he carried with him an intensely dark side. A dark side that seemed to lay dormant for years but would rear it’s ugly head occasionally causing great pain and suffering to whom ever is in Richard’s path.
Richard Rogers was born in 1950 and became a long time resident of Staten Island, New York. Not much is publicly known about his childhood but his first known bout with the law was in Maine in 1973. At 23, while finishing grad school, Richard’s ex-roommate was found dumped on the side of the road, bludgeoned. Richard claimed that he found the vicim, Frederic Spencer, in his apartment and surprised him at which point Spencer charged at Richard with a hammer. A scuffle ensued and Richard was able to take the hammer from Frederic, and struck him several times in the head. He subsequently used a bag to suffocate him and then dumped him in the woods, just off the road. Richard apparently made a convincing argument and was acquitted of all charges. Richard is also considered a prime suspect in the April 10th, 1982 murder of Matthew Pierro. Pierro’s body was found in Lake Mary, Florida and showed signs of strangulation around his neck and had multiple stab wounds. Richard had just so happened to be in the area for a college reunion. The case remains unsolved to this day.
Glimpses of Richard's future exploits were beginning to show in August of 1988 when a 47-year-old man approached cops and alerted them to his horrific experience with Richard Rogers. He claimed Rogers had drugged him unknowingly and suddenly blacked out. When he awoke he explained that he was tied up with Rogers on top of him, punching him multiple times. Trial was set to be held in December of that same year but Richard was shockingly acquitted. Coupled with the previous murder it’s surprising he would not face any punishment for the claims laid here. This could have been a huge turning point in Richard’s life and potentially saved the lives of many innocent men.
Richard Rogers seemed to have gotten things back on track. For years Rogers had kept his nose clean and out of trouble, or at the very least he hadn’t been caught doing anything. The trend seems to continue in 1991 but many believe Rogers to be the murderer of 54-year-old Peter Anderson. Peter was a recently divorced investment banker from Philadelphia. On May 3rd, 1991, Anderson travelled to New York to attend an event. Afterwards he and a friend had some drinks at a bar called the Townhouse. A cab was summoned to take Anderson to a hotel. He soon left the hotel without getting a room and waited outside for a cab. The last time anyone recalls seeing Peter Anderson alive was when he was leaving the hotel. No one ever saw him enter another cab. On May 5th, 1991, Peter Anderson’s remains would be found at a rest stop in Rapho Township, Pennsylvania. A state employee had found it odd, a rather large garbage bag crammed into the trash can. He inspected the bag further to discover a human body with horrific wounds. Anderson was found nude and his clothes would be found in another trash can just a few days later by another employee. The body was wrapped up in multiple layers of garbage bags and had been washed. There were multiple stab wounds to the front and back of the body and his penis had been removed and placed in the victim's mouth. The victim appeared to have been beaten before death as well, sustaining a number of bruises on his arms and about the head. Fingerprints were found on the bag but lead to no matches. Authorities were left with very little to get started on.
The next murder is one that Richard was actually convicted of, that being the murder of 57-year-old Thomas Mulcahy. Thomas was on a business trip from Massachusetts as a sales rep in New York. On July 7th, 1992, he dined at the Townhouse restaurant and later spent some time at the nearby bar going by the same name. The very same bar that Peter Anderson was at. The next day, Thomas and a work associate finished a presentation, had lunch with some drinks where he explained he would stay in the city for another night. After the meal the two decided to part ways. This would be the last time anyone would report seeing Thomas alive. On July 10th, 1992, the remains of Thomas would be found in multiple locations. Trash bags were left at two different rest areas in New Jersey discovered by employees who were cleaning the areas in the morning. At one of the rest areas, an employee noticed a bag dripping blood and soon discovered a severed head. At the other rest area, an employee attempted to lift the garbage can but found it too heavy. As they were removing some of the extra bags, one of them ripped exposing a set of human legs. Both rest areas contacted the New Jersey state police and an investigation was soon underway. Mr. Mulcahy had been completely dismembered. His head, upper torso, lower torso, arms, legs and internal organs were all cut using multiple saws and placed in plastic bags of varying size. Many were double or triple bagged. All tools used in the brutal dismemberment were also discarded along with the body. Within some of the discarded items was a used box of latex gloves. These gloves were traced back to a CVS on Staten Island but detectives were unable to yield any other clues from the store. There was also signs that the killer had been to the chain hardware store Pergament, which happened to have a store near the Staten Island CVS. The only real hunch police had was that the killer may live or work on Staten Island. It was later determined by the medical examiner that the cause of death was due to multiple stab wounds. Again fingerprints were found on the bag which contained the remains of Mr. Mulcahy.
Almost a year later, Richard would claim yet another victim. Anthony Marrero was a male prostitute who disappeared on May 6th, 1993, while meeting a potential client near Port Authority Bus Terminal. 4 days later on May 10th, a driver saw a human arm sticking out of a garbage bag. Detectives were called to the site and a similar scene was beginning to show itself. Six trash bags were found on Crow Hill Road in Manchester, New Jersey. He was dismembered in a similar fashion to the previous victim. Several shopping bags were found at the scene as well and again they were traced to stores on Staten Island. In addition to the shopping bags, fingerprints were again recovered from the scene. With all that in mind, authorities still had absolutely no suspects and that was not from a lack of trying. It seemed to be due to the meticulousness of the killer. Very little in way of evidence was left behind and he so far was not in any national fingerprint databases. The cause of death was again attributed to multiple stab wounds to the victim. The dismemberments were also post mortem.
At this point, talks began to emerge from within the gay community in regards to the men being found murdered. How is it continuing and how has no one been apprehended? One could only imagine the fear many felt walking the streets of New York, never knowing if you had interacted with the killer. Was he a friend? A family member? Police seemed to be just as baffled at the identity of the killer. Sadly he would strike once more. A Manhattan man known as Michael Sakara was visiting a bar he frequented called Five Oaks Piano Bar. It was July 29th, 1993, a little over a month since the previous murder, and the night was close to an end. At approximately 3:00 A.M. a man sat next to Mr. Sakara and struck up a conversation over some drinks. Michael and the man began speaking to the bartender. Michael being a regular needed no introduction but this new man introduced his self as a nurse at St. Vincent’s hospital. The two men left together an hour later as the bar started to close. As with many of the other victims, this would be the last time anyone would see Michael Sakara alive again. On July 31st, 1993, in Haverstraw, New York, a local man was getting ready to open for business when he noticed the trash can near him was unusually full. He walked over to investigate only to find human remains. Police were immediately called to the scene. Mr. Sakara’s head and arms were found dismembered at the site. It would take nine more days until the rest of his body would be found and dismembered in Stony Point, New York. The cause of death was due to multiple blows to the head, noting trauma along the brain; specifically bruising and swelling. The corpse also had multiple stab wounds. No fingerprints were found at any of the crime scenes.
Authorities took the case very seriously. Despite the dumping of the bodies in different counties and states, law enforcement agencies worked together, pooling resources and sharing information, but still yielded very little. One major clue was from the Sakara case. A bartender conversed with Sakara and the new patron just before disappearing and she was able to recall the night. She claimed the man had a common name like Mark or John. This statement always made me consider one of two possibilities: either he was using an alias or she was unable to recall the common name of Richard. In addition to the name she recalled the detail about the man being a nurse at St. Vincent’s. Police then got employee directories from many of the local hospitals and allowed the woman to peruse them. She picked out Richard Rogers however the problem with her statement was the man worked at St. Vincent’s and Richard worked at Mount Sinai. It was still a lead. Detectives then pulled Richard’s attendance at his job and noted he had been absent during the days following many of the murders. With the evidence building, it was still not enough for detectives to move forward. Soon the case went colder then cold and nothing happened for many long years.
In 1999, Thomas Mulcahy’s wife contacted the New Jersey Police to see what the state of the case was. This seemed to have prompted authorities to take another close, long look at the investigation. The first thing done was to resubmit some of the garbage bags for additional fingerprint analysis. The bags were shipped to Toronto; the technology was better and the hope was that clearer, more defined prints could be lifted. Their hunch was correct, authorities were able to pull multiple fingerprints from the bag. In 2000 many of the agencies who were working the case formed a task force. One of the detectives who had worked the case the longest, Lt. Kuehn, created a packet of the case along with the newly acquired fingerprints and forwarded it to all U.S. states and territories. In May of 2001, a match was found with a Maine database. Richard Rogers was the man with those fingerprints. Rogers was tied to 3 of the murders using fingerprint comparison. On May 28th of the same year, Rogers was taken into custody and held on one million dollar bond. He refused to speak with authorities and quickly requested an attorney.
Richard Rogers would eventually be charged for the murders of Thomas Mulcahy and Anthony Morrerro in a 4-week trial. He’d be given a life sentence which he is still serving to this day at the ripe age of 67 in a Trenton, New Jersey Maximum-Security Prison. He would be referred to in the media as the “Last Call Killer”. I find it fitting to end with the final words of the judge in Rogers trial. Rogers was described as “an evil human being.” He most certainly was.