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Suspected Serial Killer Caught in Kentucky : Crime: Man sought in Van Nuys case is captured driving a victim's car.

November 14, 1995|HENRY CHU and NICHOLAS RICCARDI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

RICHMOND, Ky. — Alleged serial killer Glen Edward Rogers was captured about 120 miles from his hometown Monday after leading police on a high-speed chase in a car that belonged to a Florida woman believed to be the third victim in a cross-country killing rampage that began in Van Nuys seven weeks ago.

Rogers--the subject of a nationwide manhunt--was seen on Kentucky 52, just east of Richmond, about 2:30 p.m. local time by state Police Detective Robert Stephens, who was carrying a photo of the fugitive in his car. Kentucky state troopers had received an anonymous call from a woman saying the 33-year-old blond laborer had just left her house, authorities said.

"I pulled up beside him and was able to get a look at him," Stephens said. "I knew it was him."

Rogers took a long drink of beer, threw the empty can at the police cruiser and sped off, Stephens said. He reached 100 m.p.h. in the victim's car, at one point driving between two other patrol cars that were serving as a roadblock, Stephens said.

After a 15-mile chase, Rogers was run off the road and quickly taken into custody--smelling of alcohol and looking dazed. A single shot was fired during the pursuit, but no one was injured.

Rogers denied to a TV reporter at the scene that he had killed anyone. He has been linked to four recent murders of women in California, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana.

"One-on-one talk to me, in person, alone," Rogers told the reporter as he was put into a patrol car. He is being held in Richmond and "is cooperating to some degree," State Police Capt. Charles Bowman said.

Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department said they would send investigators as early as today to question Rogers in connection with a Sept. 29 killing in Van Nuys.

Authorities believe he may be responsible for still more deaths, because he once bragged that the Van Nuys slaying was his eighth, according to Los Angeles police.

Los Angeles prosecutors took the first step Monday toward bringing him back to California to face murder charges.

"We filed notice of extradition today," L.A. County district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Monday. "It ultimately will be the decision of a judge in Kentucky where to send him."

In his hometown of Hamilton, Ohio, Rogers is wanted for questioning in the 1993 death of his 72-year-old roommate, whose body was found last year in an abandoned cabin that Rogers' family owns in nearby Beattyville, Ky.

The house where Rogers stopped Monday is across the highway from the cabin where the body of his housemate, Mark Peters, was found. Authorities were alerted to Rogers' whereabouts from the house by a cousin.

In California, Rogers is a suspect in four unsolved killings in Ontario and Port Hueneme, where the victims were either strangled or stabbed, set on fire or left in bathtubs.

"A dangerous person is off the street," said Detective Dan Pratt of the Hamilton Police Department in Rogers' hometown, where he may have been heading when he was caught.

LAPD Detective Stephen Fisk predicted that even more slayings will be linked to Rogers.

"I think this man's been doing this for a long time," Fisk said Monday, after the arrest. As news of the arrest spread, friends and relatives of Rogers' alleged victims reacted with joy and relief.

"I hope they do to him a whole lot worse than he did to her," said Billy Morton, who manages the bar in Bossier City, La., where slaying victim Andy Jiles Sutton met Rogers.

In Florida, Jeannie Fuller, who worked with slaying victim Tina Marie Cribbs as a hotel maid, said she hopes the legal system deals harshly with Rogers.

After a funeral Sunday, she and other friends of Cribbs carried the woman's ashes to Showtown USA, the Gibsonton bar where she met Rogers. They put the urn on a table, she said, and ordered a round.

The arrest was a great relief to Rein Keener, a 24-year-old bartender at McRed's Cocktail Lounge in Van Nuys who fended off Rogers' advances and then watched him leave with slaying victim Sandra Gallagher. Gallagher was found strangled and set on fire not far from Rogers' apartment.

"I started crying," said Keener, who has been under police protection since a man she said sounded like Rogers phoned her at work last week and warned: "You will pay."

On Monday, as the chase and arrest videotaped by a local TV station were aired nationally, Keener posted a handwritten sign on McRed's front door: "Thanks to the police. Serial killer caught. 11/13/95 12:20 p.m., Kentucky."

The bar's owner quickly added his own headline: "Glen Rogers caught. Ladies 1/2 price on all drinks."

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