Calling him "an
evil human being," a judge ordered consecutive life
sentences Friday for a former nurse convicted in the murders
of a businessman and a gay prostitute whose remains
were dumped along New Jersey highways.
Richard W. Rogers, 55, of Staten Island, N.Y.,
stood stoically, declining one last chance to explain
what drove him to kill, as superior court judge James
Citta gave him the maximum penalties for the murders.
Investigators still don't know the motive for
the killings of Thomas Mulcahy, 56, of Sudbury, Mass.,
and Anthony Marrero, 44. "He did it because he could
and because he wanted to," said Tracey Mulcahy, 32,
Mulcahy's daughter, her voice breaking as she stood about 10
feet from the shackled Rogers in court.
Rogers, who worked for 20 years as a surgical
nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, was caught
in 2001 after investigators matched fingerprints taken
from the plastic bags containing the remains. Rogers's
fingerprints were on file in Maine, where he was acquitted
in 1973 in the hammer-beating death of a fellow
graduate school student at the University of Maine. He
had claimed self-defense. Rogers was also acquitted in
a 1990 case in which the victim testified that he met Rogers
in a New York bar, returned to Rogers's home with him, and
was drugged, waking up naked and bound at the wrists
Both murder victims disappeared in New York.
Mulcahy disappeared July 8, 1992, while there
for a business meeting. One of the last places he was
seen was the Townhouse, a gay bar Rogers frequented.
His remains were found a month later, some at a state
Department of Transportation maintenance yard in Burlington
County, others in a trash barrel at a Garden State
Parkway rest stop. Marrero's remains were found 10
months later near a road in Manchester, also in
double-knotted plastic bags.
Rogers, who was convicted in a trial last
November despite his lawyer's assertion that police
arrested the wrong man, was also found guilty of
hindering his apprehension by disposing of the body parts
and received an additional 10 years for that.
The lawyer, David Ruhnke, plans to appeal the
conviction. He contends that prosecutors never proved
the men were killed in New Jersey and that the court
didn't have jurisdiction as a result.
Citta had the choice of ordering consecutive or
concurrent prison terms. "In 25 years of practicing
criminal law, I have never seen a case more bizarre,
more gruesome, more depraved," executive assistant
Ocean County prosecutor William J. Heisler told him. "If
ever there was a case that screamed out for
consecutive sentences, this is it."
Mulcahy's daughters fought back tears
remembering their father, a computer equipment sales
executive they described as a loving father who
grappled with alcoholism and his bisexuality, trying to keep
both issues from his family. "My father died
senselessly, at the hands of a monster, and I can only
hope that it never happens to anyone else," said Susan
Mulcahy, 40. His wife, Margaret Mulcahy, 71, sat in
the gallery but didn't speak in court.
"You are an evil human being," Citta told
Rogers. "It is difficult, even in today's world...to
imagine what takes place in the mind of a human being
that would cause them to do what you did to these two
human beings." He said he hoped "that you die in some hole
in some prison without ever having freedom again."
"That's the judgment of this court," a visibly
upset Citta said. "We're done. Take him out of here,"
he told sheriff's deputies, bolting suddenly from the
bench and walking briskly out of the courtroom and
into his chambers. (AP)