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Greater than 50 years in the past, on April 28, 1973, Frederic Spencer, a College of Maine scholar, was bludgeoned to loss of life. His killer dumped Spencer’s physique simply off Route 116 in Previous City, not removed from the Interstate 95 exit on Gilman Falls Avenue, the place it was finally discovered.
Twenty-eight years later, Richard Rogers, the previous College of Maine graduate scholar who was Spencer’s roommate and who Maine State Police believed killed him, was convicted of the homicide of two extra males — this time, in and round New York Metropolis. He’s at present serving two life sentences in New Jersey State Jail.
Rogers was acquitted of Spencer’s homicide again in 1973, after a five-day trial in Penobscot County Superior Courtroom, through which Rogers claimed he was not responsible as a consequence of self-defense. However it’s believed by police in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere that within the ensuing years, Rogers might have been liable for as much as 4 extra murders, and probably extra — not together with the murders of the 2 males for which he was convicted in 2005, and that of Spencer’s.
Rogers, who would come to be referred to as the Final Name Killer, is a serial killer who primarily focused homosexual and bisexual males in New York Metropolis within the Nineteen Nineties. He lured them from bars in Manhattan, murdered and dismembered them, after which dumped their our bodies in rubbish baggage alongside highways.
If he had been convicted of homicide in Maine in 1973, it’s doable none of these subsequent killings would ever have occurred.
These murders and the lives of the boys who had been killed are the topic of a brand new documentary collection on HBO, “Final Name: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York,” which premiered final week and airs on Sunday nights by way of July 30. It’s primarily based on the 2021 ebook “Final Name: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Homicide in Queer New York,” written by Elon Inexperienced.
Earlier than Rogers took the lives of a number of folks, nevertheless, he was a shy, awkward youth rising up in Massachusetts after which Florida, a straight-A scholar in a working class household. After graduating from Florida Southern School with a level in French, he went to the College of Maine in 1973 for a grasp’s diploma, additionally in French. He lived at 10 Essential St. in Orono with three roommates, together with Spencer. He was described as a loner.
On the afternoon of April 28, 1973, Rogers hit Spencer eight occasions behind the top with a hammer, after which positioned a plastic bag over his head to asphyxiate him. That night, he wrapped Spencer’s physique in a nylon tent and dumped it within the woods. As soon as Spencer’s physique was recovered, a key in his pocket led police to a publish workplace field the roommates shared. Rogers was arrested on Might 1, and was rapidly arraigned in courtroom.
Throughout the trial, Rogers claimed that Spencer tried to assault him with a hammer, however that he managed to wrestle it out of his roommate’s fingers and attacked him in self-defense. In a panic, he disposed of the physique, relatively than go to the police. Rogers’ testimony was so convincing that his legal professional requested for the costs to be diminished to manslaughter, which the decide granted. On Nov. 2, after deliberating for lower than three hours, the jury reached a verdict of not responsible.
Rogers relocated to New York to attend nursing faculty and was quickly employed at Mount Sinai Hospital. For the subsequent 15 years, he saved a low profile, till a 1988 alleged assault on a person Rogers met at a bar in Manhattan. Rogers allegedly introduced him again to his Staten Island condo and drugged him repeatedly, eliminated his garments and tied him to the mattress. Finally, police mentioned Rogers carried him out of the condo, and a month later was arrested for the assault. He was acquitted at trial.
Additionally it is suspected that Rogers murdered males in Florida in 1982 and in Connecticut in 1986, although police have by no means conclusively proved the connection.
The 4 murders for which Rogers was both convicted for or suspected of committing occurred between 1991 and 1993: Peter Stickney Anderson in 1991, Thomas Richard Mulcahy in 1992, Anthony Edward Marrero in 1993, and Michael Sakara, additionally in 1993. In 2005, Rogers was convicted solely of the murders of Marrero and Mulcahy — not of Anderson or Sakara.
All of the victims had been homosexual or bisexual males of their 40s and 50s, and all had been both stabbed or crushed to loss of life. All besides Marrero had been final seen at homosexual bars in Manhattan. Their our bodies had been reduce into a number of items and had been washed clear, positioned in rubbish baggage and disposed of alongside highways in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In an period when LGBTQ+ folks in New York had been below fixed menace of bodily violence because the HIV/AIDS epidemic ripped by way of the group, the killings additional terrorized folks. Within the HBO collection, “Final Name,” the tales of the murdered males are instructed in poignant, tender element, underscoring the power of the homosexual group of the period, and the brutality and devastation it bore for therefore a few years.
It might take one other eight years for police to attach Rogers to the crimes. The large break got here in 2001, when Maine lastly put its Automated Fingerprint Identification System on-line. Although new fingerprints had been lifted from proof in 1999, matches from Rogers’ 1973 arrest in Orono couldn’t be made for 2 extra years. The match was made in Might 2001, and inside just a few weeks, Rogers was arrested. He lastly went to trial in October 2005, and was convicted of the murders of Mulcahy and Marrero.
Upon Rogers’ arrest, Frederic Spencer’s mom, Louise, who lived on Mount Desert Island, instructed the Bangor Every day Information that the information of the arrest didn’t deliver them a lot reduction.
“This simply renews the ache that we have now felt all these years,” she mentioned. “We’ve got been in such ache, and this simply opens the wound and makes it recent once more. It wasn’t a cheerful factor for us that [Rogers] went free.”