Ramon Jay Rogers

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Banned
Ramon Jay Rogers

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Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Dismemberment
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: June 24/December 18, 1993 / February 18, 1996
Date of arrest: March 13, 1996
Date of birth: 1959
Victims profile: Ron Stadt, 20 (his friend) / Rose Albano, 33 (pregnant ex-girlfriend) / Beatrice Toronczak, 32 (ex-girlfriend with whom he has a 6-year-old son)
Method of murder: ???
Location: San Diego County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1997




Ramon Jay Rogers, an aspiring actor and heavy-metal drummer, was arrested in March of 1996 in San Diego after the body parts of his visiting ex-girlfriend were found in the apartment complex he managed.

The discovery triggered the reopening of two other cases involving the mutilation-murder of another of his old girlfriends and the disappearance of one of his friends.

Investigators have also looked into two other murders outside San Diego County that might be linked to Rogers. The body parts of the old flame found, reportedly teeth and fingers, were in a plastic bag inside a storage locker near his parking space.

S.C. Upholds Death Sentence for Man Who Killed Ex-Girlfriend

Possibility That Victim Was Still Alive Justified Warrantless Search, Justices Rule Unanimously


July 7, 2009

The California Supreme Court yesterday upheld the capital conviction of a San Diego man, based in part on evidence recovered by police officers after they conducted a warrantless entry of the storage rooms under his apartment out of concern that the mother of his child—who had been missing for over 3 weeks—was locked inside.

Writing for the unanimous court, Justice Marvin R. Baxter said that the San Diego Police Department had an objectively urgent need to try and locate Beatrice Toronczak, justifying their entry into the storage areas of the apartment complex at 7007 Saranac in San Diego, where Ramon Rogers worked as the resident manager.

Rogers and Toronczak had a young son together, and Toronczak moved with the child from Poland to live with Rogers.

Victim Disappears

In February 1996, shortly after Toronczak had moved into Rogers' apartment, she disappeared. Rogers allegedly expressed no concern over Toronczak and made no efforts to locate her, according to testimony.

He also told friends and Toronczak's mother inconsistent stories regarding her whereabouts and declined to file a missing person report.

On March 6, 1996, a missing person report was filed on behalf of Toronczak's mother, who said she had not spoken to her daughter in 3 to 4 weeks.

Detective Richard Carlson reviewed the report five days later and telephoned Rogers to ask how long Toronczak had been gone. He testified that Rogers told him she had been gone about a week to a week and a half, then said he had to go and hung up.

The detective then called the person who filed the missing persons report, who said that Toronczak’s mother said she had witnessed Rogers threaten to lock Toronczak in the basement of the apartment complex. The mother said she believed Rogers had made good on his threat and insisted that the police look in the basement for her daughter.

Police Search

Carlson went to Rogers' apartment about three hours later, where he had arranged to have uniformed police officers meet him. He claimed he was uncomfortable investigating the case without assistance because Toronczak's mother suspected Rogers had something to do with Toronczak's disappearance and because of his prior conversation with Rogers.

After receiving no answer at Rogers' apartment, Carlson and the officers proceeded to check for a storage area. Residents of the complex directed the officers to the storage rooms and told the officers that Rogers, the manager, controlled access to that area.

Shortly thereafter, Rogers arrived and identified himself to the officers. He maintained that Toronczak had been gone for a week to a week and a half and said he thought she went to Mexico with someone.

Permission Denied

The detective told Rogers he had information that Rogers had threatened to lock Toronczak in a storage room and he wanted to see if she was being held against her will. Rogers allegedly did not deny the threat, or that Toronczak was within the storage area, but declined to grant the officers permission to enter.

Carlson testified that Rogers' neck began to throb when the detective mentioned the storage room, causing him to become "very concerned" about Toronczak and "more and more convinced" that Toronczak was possibly in the storage area.

He ordered the officers to break the door open, and inside the storage area, the officers observed what appeared to be bloodstains, a hammer, a saw and a butcher knife.

Based on these observations, officers obtained a search warrant, re-entered the storage areas and seized those items. Toronczak's severed fingers and parts of her jawbone were subsequently discovered in the storage areas.

Rogers was charged with the murders of Toronczak and his former girlfriend Rose Albano, who was pregnant with his child at the time of her disappearance in December 1993 and whose partial remains were found in a trash bag near Rogers' sister's home.

He was also charged with the murder of his one-time roommate and best friend Ron Stadt, who vanished in June 1993 and whose body was never found.

Jurors found him guilty of first degree murder as to the 2 women and guilty of the lesser charge of second degree murder as to Stadt, with a multiple-murder special circumstance, following a trial held in 1997 with San Diego Superior Court Judge Frederic L. Link presiding, Rogers was sentenced to death in accord with the jury verdict.

On his automatic appeal to the state Supreme Court, Rogers contended that the initial warrantless police entries into the storage rooms were unlawful, which tainted the warrant-authorized searches and invalidated the resulting seizures of evidence, but the high court disagreed.

Baxter noted in his opinion for the court that it had upheld a warrantless entry to "seek an occupant reliably reported as missing" in People v. Wharton (1991) 53 Cal.3d 522.

Wharton said the police did not illegally open a closed container to confirm their suspicion that it contained a dead body because "there existed the possibility that the victim was still alive," and the emergency generated by the missing person report did not cease until the officers found the subject of those reports was dead.

People v. Lucero (1988) 44 Cal.3d 1006 similarly held that the warrantless entry into a home was justified by the exigency created by the disappearance of 2 girls and a fire of unknown origin within that house, which was across the street from the last known location of the missing girls.

Analogizing these two cases to the facts known to Carlson at the time the San Diego police entered the storage areas under Rogers' apartment, Baxter concluded that the totality of the circumstances indicated an exigency justifying a warrantless entry.

"Because the totality of the circumstances must be considered, the fact that certain circumstances were not present here, such as certain noises or smells, or gunshots or fire, does not defeat the finding of an emergency," he explained, adding that the length of time Toronczak had been reported as missing, "did not negate the emergency nature of the situation in light of the other circumstances known to Carlson."

Additionally, Baxter said the possibility that Carlson could have acted more quickly in trying to find Toronczak or his subjective belief that he lacked probable cause to obtain a warrant before entering the storage areas were irrelevant as the total circumstances justified the entry.

The justices also rejected Rogers' pre-trial, evidentiary, and instructional challenges to his conviction but agreed to modify his sentence as the trial court erred in entering a judgment imposing a sentence of death as to all 3 murder counts because capital punishment is not authorized for 2nd degree murder.

Given the significant physical and circumstantial evidence against Rogers, the justices declined to remand the matter to allow the trial court to consider whether the authorized sentence on the 2nd degree murder count should be stayed and exercised its statutory authority to vacate the death sentence imposed on the 2nd degree murder count and ordered the judgment modified to reflect a state prison term of 15 years to life.

The case is People v. Rogers, 09 S.O.S. 4127.

Former girlfriend of actor identified from body parts

March 16, 1996

Human remains discovered in a storage locker were those of an actor's former girlfriend, police confirmed Friday.

Ramon Jay Rogers, who appeared in the TV show "Renegade," was arrested Monday for investigation into the murder of Beatrice Toronczak, 32, after fingers, teeth and other body parts were discovered by police in lockers at his apartment complex.

Rogers pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing Toronczak, the mother of his 6-year-old son.

Toronczak was last known to be alive Feb. 18 and was reported missing March 6 by a family friend.

Toronczak had confided to her mother that an angry Rogers had once locked her in a storage room at the complex, a friend said.

Friends said Rogers and Toronczak lived with each other only intermittently.

"Beatrice was a really, really nice lady," said a friend who asked not to be identified. "She came from Poland and didn't know one word of English. But she went to school and taught herself."

Toronczak and Rogers quarreled after she found him and her son living with another woman in January. She threatened to take the boy to her native Poland if the woman did not leave, neighbors said.

The other woman moved out, but Rogers and Toronczak continued to quarrel over the situation, a neighbor said.

Ron Stadt, a former roommate of Rogers, disappeared in 1993, apparently after confronting Rogers about having an affair with Stadt's estrangedwife.

Rogers was questioned about Stadt's disappearance but he never was arrested.

About six months after Stadt disappeared, the arm, leg and lower jaw of another of Rogers' girlfriends, Rose Albano, 33, was found in a trash bag off a rural road in northeast San Diego County.

Investigators said they had insufficient evidence to arrest Rogers.

In addition to playing small parts on "Renegade," Rogers performed roles for a local Crime Stoppers program. He played murderers, bank robbers and an assortment of other felons, said Linda Zweig, who once coordinated the show.

"He was very good at what he did," she said.

Rogers also worked as a reserve deputy for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department from February to August 1990. He worked as an unpaid member of the search-and-rescue scuba team but was dropped from the program after his six-month probationary period. San Diego sheriff's spokesman Don Crist would not say why.

After Monday's grisly discoveries, police dug up portions of the storage area's dirt floor in a search for more body parts. They would not confirm if they found anything else.

'Not guilty,' says murder suspect

Thursday, March 14, 1996

A 36-year-old College Area man pleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge of murder in connection with the disappearance of his female companion from their nearby apartment.

Ramon Jay Rogers, the manager of an apartment complex on Saranac Street, was accused of murdering the woman, Beatrice Toronczak, sometime between Feb. 17 and March 11, 1996.

The woman has been missing for several weeks, yet her body has not been found. On Monday, however, detectives found in a parking storage area teeth and fingers which appear to be of female gender.

A forensic examination will be conducted by the Medical Examiner's office to determine the identity of the victim.

Deputy District Attorney Bill Wood described Rogers as "an extreme danger to the community."

Wood's request that Rogers be held without bail was granted.

Rogers was also formally identified as a suspect in other murders, including at least one other dismemberment case.

He was taken into custody late Monday on charges of illegal possession of narcotics and was later booked on charges of homicide by the San Diego Police Department, said Lt. Glenn Breitenstein, head of homicide investigations for the SDPD.

Sheriff's homicide investigators questioned Rogers in early 1994 regarding the disappearance of a former girlfriend, Rose Albano. He was not arrested at that time. The remains of Albano were found in a plastic trash bag dumped in the Valley Center area.

Homicide detectives and Sheriff's homicide investigators are coordinating the investigations to determine if they are related.

Additional charges could be filed later.

Tenants at the complex said they were shocked to hear the news. Friends of Rogers are standing by him.

"I'm gonna be there for him," said his current girlfriend Rose, who requested her last name not be used. "My sweetheart didn't do it."

One tenant, who identified herself as "Kelli," said Rogers isn't the kind of person who would commit such a crime.

"If he gets upset about something, he's going to talk to the person very rationally about it," she said. "He's not the kind that will chop somebody up.

"One hundred percent of me believes that he is innocent."

Kelli also said that when she first heard of the disappearance of Rogers' live-in companion, she thought Toronczak left with another male friend.

Another tenant, Tom, said Rogers helped him out at a time when he needed a job.

"He is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back," Tom said. "As the law says, he's innocent until proven guilty. We're going to stand by him."

Another tenant,who asked not to be identified, said he was very surprised to hear about it.

"I didn't think he would do something like that," he said."But then you never know."

Rogers will be held in jail without bail until at least March 18, the date of the bail review hearing. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 26.

SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: PC

MO: Suspected of wifes murder (1977); dismembered a male friend and two women.

DISPOSITION: Condemned on one count in Calif. 1996.
 
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