Palmer jury convicts man in machete killing

Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2008

WASILLA - A Palmer jury has convicted a man of killing his father with a machete.

Christopher Erin Rogers Jr., 29, was convicted Thursday of hacking his father to death and nearly doing the same to the elder Rogers' fiancee in December 2007.

"I've been in Palmer for 10 years prosecuting and I can say that this is the worst murder I've seen," said Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak.

Rogers had little reaction to hearing the verdict.

He sat stoically in a blue button-down shirt and slacks, at times whispering to his attorney, Craig Condie, who later declined comment.

The trial before Superior Court Judge Vanessa White lasted one week. The jury of eight men and four women convicted Rogers of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, vehicle theft and animal cruelty.

The family dog intervened when Rogers turned the machete on his father's fiancee, Elann Moren, and she barricaded herself in another room.

Rogers will be sentenced March 24.

In a trial set for Jan. 20 in Anchorage, Rogers faces 10 more charges, including murder.

Prosecutors contend he left his father's home, drove to Anchorage and shot three people, including, Jason Wenger, 27, who died.

Kalytiak said that the Palmer case was difficult because of the grisly subject matter.

"If there's an act that deserves the label of murder in the first degree and attempted murder in the first degree, this is it," he said.

Rogers' other attorney, John Richard, said in court Thursday that the jury could not know what was in his client's mind and therefore could not conclude he had formed the intent to kill Moren and his father. Richard argued for a second-degree murder conviction for the killing of Rogers Sr. and an assault conviction for the attack on Moren.

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