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 vicious, cross-country killing spree that began in Van Nuys seven weeks ago.
Rogers--the subject of a nationwide manhunt--was spotted mid-afternoon on a two-lane road just east of here by a state police detective who carried a photo of the fugitive in his car. Kentucky state troopers had received a phone call from Rogers' cousin, 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," Detective Robert Stephens said. "I knew it was him."
After taking a long swig of beer, Rogers threw an empty can at the police cruiser and sped off, reaching 100 m.p.h., and at one point driving between two other patrol cars serving as a roadblock, Stephens said. He was run off the road after a 15-mile chase, then quickly taken into custody--smelling of alcohol and looking dazed, authorities said. Police said they fired a single shot during the pursuit, but no one was injured.
Rogers denied to a TV reporter at the scene that he killed anyone. Authorities have linked Rogers to four recent slayings of women in California, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana.
"One-on-one, talk to me, in person, alone," Rogers said to the reporter as he was put into a patrol car. He was being held in Richmond, and "is cooperating to some degree," said Kentucky State Police Capt. Charles Bowman.
Earlier in the day, Rogers had dropped by the house of his cousins, Edith and Clara Smallwood, family members said. "He stepped up on the porch and asked them if they knew that what they'd been seeing on TV wasn't entirely true," said Sally Smallwood, Edith's sister-in-law, who lives nearby.
Rogers told his cousins: " 'I just wanted to tell you all 'by, and I love you, because I know when they catch me they're gonna kill me,' " Smallwood said. Then Rogers began to cry and said, " 'Pray for me,' " before leaving, she said.
Edith Smallwood, concerned for Rogers' safety, alerted state troopers, Sally Smallwood added.
The house where Rogers stopped Monday is across the highway from the family cabin where the body of Rogers' former roommate was found in January, 1994, a death that authorities in both states are investigating for connections to Rogers.
Rogers was questioned for six hours, until he requested an attorney about 9:30 p.m. "He was cooperative and talkative," Bowman said, without explanation. Authorities said Rogers was not entirely lucid, however.
Los Angeles police detectives from the Van Nuys Division 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. He bragged to acquaintances the Van Nuys slaying was his eighth, according to police.
In his hometown of Hamilton, Ohio, Rogers is wanted for questioning about the 1993 death of his 72-year-old roommate, whose body was found last year in an abandoned cabin Rogers' family owns in nearby Beattyville, Ky.
And in California, Rogers is now 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 Police Detective Dan Pratt, of Hamilton, where Rogers may have been heading when he was caught.
Los Angeles Police Detective Stephen Fisk said that even more slayings may be linked to Rogers.
"I think this man's been doing this for a long time," Fisk said Monday after Rogers' arrest. "I think we're going to be amazed by all the bodies we find behind this guy."
As news of the arrest spread, friends and relatives of Rogers' alleged victims responded with full-throttle joy, and few thoughts of mercy.
"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.
"Does Kentucky have capital punishment?" asked Sutton's friend, bartender Denise Hogue. "If not, tell them they need to invest in that or send him back here and let us do it."
In Florida, Jeannie Fuller, who worked with slaying victim Tina Marie Cribbs as a hotel maid, said, "I hope he gets castrated."
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 and ordered a round.
Cindy Torgerson, who worked with Cribbs at the Ramada Inn and was with her the day she met Rogers, said, "We had our last drink with her."
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 Sandra Gallagher. Gallagher's body was found strangled and set on fire not far from Rogers' apartment.