The Molalla Forest Killer - Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers killed 8 women in 1987, burying 7 of them in Oregon's Molalla Forest.

He operated a small engine repair shop but enjoyed picking up prostitutes, tying their hands and feet and would stab them to death in his light blue pickup. He was finally caught after stabbing to death a prostitute at 3am in the parking lot of a Denny's in front of customers. Those same customers chased him down and took down his licence plate, leading to his downfall. Afterwards - a hunter stumbled across the bodies of 7 previous victims in Molalla Forest.

Does anyone else have any information on this brutal killer, now in death row?



A.K.A.: "The Molalla Forest Killer"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Torture
Number of victims: 7 - 8
Date of murders: 1987
Date of arrest: August 7, 1987
Date of birth: September 30, 1953
Victims profile: Cynthia "Dee Dee" Diane DeVore, 21 / Maureen Ann Hodges, 26 / Reatha Marie Gyles, 16 / Nondace "Noni" Kae Cervantes, 26 / Lisa Marie Mock, 23 / Christine Lotus Adams, 35 / Jennifer Lisa Smith, 25 / An eighth victim believed killed by Rogers was found but never identified, and Rogers was never charged in her death
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 9, 1989. Resentenced to death on March 8, 2006

Dayton Rogers, born in 1953, has a criminal background dating back to the age of 16 when he was caught with a friend shooting at passing cars, trying to break windshields.

His evil fantasies predated that brush with the law, but he (apparently) stayed out of trouble until the age of 19 when he attacked and stabbed a 15 year old girl on their second date.

Dayton had been married for less than a month at the time. Pleading guilty to the lesser charge of 2nd degree assault, he was placed on 4 years probation.

At 20, he attacked two teenage girls with a beer bottle. Prosecutors petitioned the court to revoke probation but the judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity, and he was committed to the Oregon State Hospital in March, 1974. He was formally released in December of the same year.

Three months later he met Sherry Miller. Now divorced, he married her in October, 1975.

In December of the same year, he raped an 18 year old girl and was indicted in January. He was allowed to remain free pending a May trial.

In February, he assaulted two teenage girls and raped one of them. He pleaded not guilty because of mental disease.

In May, he was acquitted of the December rape charge.

In June, his parole for the old knife attack was revoked.

In August, he was acquitted for the latest rape charge, but was convicted of two counts of coercion and sentenced to five years.

Rogers was paroled in January, 1982, having served five and a half years. One year later, his parole supervision was terminated.

Lots of things happened between then and August 6, 1987 when he murdered a prostitute in a Denny's parking lot. He was arrested for the crime and pleaded self-defense.

Through circumstantial evidence, he was clearly connected with the murders of seven other women who had been found at a remote gravesite in the Molalla Forest area. Some of the victims were found with their feet severed, and one victim had been eviscerated from vagina to sternum. The coroner's reports indicate that the injuries were likely suffered while the victims were still alive.

In February, 1988, Rogers was sentenced to life (WITH the possibility of parole) for the August 6 murder.

In June, 1989, he was sentenced to death for the Molalla Forest killings. From his criminal record, it would appear that he received 13 death sentences for six different cases, i.e. victims. As I understand it, the seventh victim is still unidentified, and Rogers has yet to be forthcoming with information.

In June, 2000, Roger's cases were remanded to the Circuit Court for resentencing, and there is no new information available from the Oregon Dept. of Corrections as of this writing. Dayton Rogers no longer resides in the Death Row accommodations Oregon has to offer.

Oregon is one of the few states that does "employ" the death penalty, but they have a short history of doing so. Dayton Leroy Rogers' case screams for it, and his case is testament to the shoddy "justice" system Oregon had during that time and which still prevails.

Dayton Leroy ROGERS

Dayton Leroy Rogers was born in Idaho in 1954. His family eventually ended up in Oregon where Rogers would one day join the long list of West Caost Serial Slayers. His first serious offense occurred at the age of eighteen when he stabbed his fifteen-year-old girlfriend in the stomach, but escaped with only a lengthy probation sentence. A year later Rogers was confined to a mental facility for a sexual assault on two teen girls. He was also found innocent of a 1976 rape before being finally sent to prison for five years after the knifepoint rape of a young woman.

Rogers served seventeen months initially and another ten soon after his release for parole violations, but his criminal life was not slowed down. In August of 1987 several witnesses fingered him in the murder of Jennifer Smith. Rogers was seen crouched over the prostitute in an Oak Grove, Oregon, parking lot. A brave citizen followed Rogers and took down his license plate number as the apparent killer fled the scene in his truck. Police arrsted Rogers at this engine repair business early the following morning.

In the meantime the bodies of seven women were discovered in a wooded area near Mololla. One has remained unidentified (thus Rogers has never been charged with her murder) but the other six were Lisa Mock, 23, Maureen Hodges, 26, Christine Adams, 35, Nondace Cervantes, 26, Reatha Gyles, 16, and Cynthia Devore, 21. Only one did not have links to prostitution or drugs. Rogers was not a suspect until an evidence search of the dump site revealed that the ground was littered with small individual containers of orange juice and miniature vodka bottles that Rogers was almost never without.

In his trial for the murder of Smith, Rogers pleaded not guilty but was sentenced to life in prison. He had claimed self-defense, claiming Smith had held a knife to his throat prior to his killing her. At his subsequent trial for the slayings of the six known Mololla victims he was found guilty and sentenced to death and now sits on Oregon's death row. At his two trials several surviving victims testified to Rogers' taste for bondage and torture, facts corroborated by the injuries inflicted on the murderered women, some of whom had their feet cut off, possible while still alive.

Rogers, Dayton Leroy

The youngest of three children, Rogers was born in Moscow, Idaho, in 1954. His parents moved frequently, adopting four more children along the way, and Rogers turned to petty juvenile crime after losing his favored place as the baby of the family.

In seventh grade, he was arrested for shooting a BB gun at passing cars, but serious violence was postponed until his late teens, with females singled out as his victims of preference. On August 25, 1972, Rogers drove his 15-year-old girlfriend into the woods near Eugene, Oregon, for a sexual interlude, and wound up stabbing her in the abdomen with a hunting knife, telling her, "I just couldn't trust you anymore." Instantly remorseful, he first proposed marriage, then drove her to the hospital, where police were summoned.

Pleading guilty to second-degree assault in February 1973, Rogers was sentenced to four years probation. A year after his first escapade, on August 1, 1973, Rogers attacked two 15-year-old girls with a pop bottle, drawing charges of second -and third-degree assault. He was acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect the Oregon equivalent of insanity - and was committed to a state hospital, winning release on December 12, 1974.

In January 1976, he was indicted for first-degree rape in Clackamas County, but a jury found him innocent in May. While still awaiting trial, on February 24, he raped one high school girl and threatened another with a knife, apologizing afterward as if, in the words of one victim, "it was all some kind of game." Rogers pled innocent by reason of mental defect, and in August he was convicted on a reduced charge of coercion, drawing the five-year maximum jail term.

The prosecutor referred to Rogers as "a murder case looking for a place to happen," but he still won parole after 17 months, hauled back for another ten on charges of parole violation. In the predawn hours of August 7, 1987, Rogers was found in a Portland parking lot, crouching over the nude, mutilated body of prostitute Jennifer Smith. Witnesses gave chase at speeds topping 100 mph, recording his license number and a description of his pickup truck before Rogers gave them the slip. Arresting him at home, police found bloodstains in his truck, along with latent fingerprints from Smith. Witnesses fingered Rogers as the slasher, and several other prostitutes came forward, volunteering tales of brutal sex and torture at knifepoint, spanning the past year.

On August 31, with Rogers safe in jail, a woman's decomposing body was discovered on a sprawling timber farm near Molalla, in Clackamas County. Deputies were summoned, and by sundown on September 1, remains of four more victims were discovered. The body-count hit seven by September 5, each victim killed by multiple stab wounds, their nude bodies bearing the marks of torture and mutilation.

The six identified victims included: Lisa Mock, age 23, a Portland prostitute and addict missing since July; another Portland junkie, 26-year-old Maureen Hodges, who vanished around the same time; Christine Adams, 35, also of Portland; 26-year-old Nondace Cervantes, from Tempe, Arizona; Portland high school student Reatha Gayles, 16; and 21-year-old Cynthia DeVore, also from Portland.

A prime suspect in all seven murders, Rogers escaped indictment on grounds of insufficient evidence. Charged in the murder of Jennifer Smith, he went to trial in January 1988, with a lame plea of justifiable homicide. According to Rogers, Smith had disrobed before pulling a knife and attempting to rob him, thus compelling him to stab her eleven times in "self-defense."

Jurors convicted him of aggravated murder on February 20, and Rogers was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 30 years to serve before consideration for parole.

Dayton Leroy Rogers

On Aug. 31, 1987, a bow hunter stumbled across a badly decomposed body while on a steep, brushy slope of a privately-owned timber farm, 10 miles southeast of Molalla.

Over the next five days, searchers from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and a local Explorer Scout post would find six more decomposed bodies -- all women and all nude --along the same hillside, less than 100 yards from one another. Authorities were soon calling the Molalla Forest Murders the worst serial murder in Oregon history.

Little did authorities know that the person who would later be convicted of the seven murders was sitting in the Clackamas County Jail, charged with the unrelated stabbing death of a Portland prostitute in a restaurant parking lot.

Dayton Leroy Rogers, 33, of Canby, was arrested Aug. 7 -- about three weeks before the first Molalla forest body was discovered-- in connection with the stabbing death of a 25-year-old woman, Jennifer Lisa Smith, whose nude body was found by Deputies in a parking lot of a restaurant in Oak Grove.

A witness to the murder chased Roger' s pickup truck to Gladstone, then phoned the Sheriff's Office with a description of the truck and license number. Using automobile registration records, deputies tracked Rogers to a small engine repair business Rogers and his wife, Sherry, operated in Woodbum.

A subsequent search of a wood burning stove at the Rogers' residence turned up parts of women's clothing and jewelry later identified as belonging to some of the forest murder victims.

Rogers had a history of sadistic sexual crimes against women in Lane, Yamhill and Clackamas counties. In a 1972 Lane County case, he allegedly took a 15year-old girl to a wooded area to have sex, then stabbed her in the abdomen. The victim, who survived the attack, later told police Rogers proposed marriage immediately after he stabbed her.

During his closing arguments at Rogers' 1989 murder trial, Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney Andrejs I. Eglitis addressed Rogers' bizarre sexual appetite, including his fetish with women's feet. To establish his dominance over his female victims, Eglitis contended Rogers sawed off the feet of three of his victims and let them bleed to death.

Eglitis insisted Rogers delighted in torturing women. The prosecutor claimed Rogers deceived the women he hired as prostitutes, then drove them to the hills above the Molalla River where he bound them, tortured them and finally killed them for the sexual thrill he got out of it. What really tripped up Rogers, Eglitis told jurors, were the miniature vodka bottles and orange juice containers carelessly left scattered around the crime scene. Eleven prostitutes who testified during the trial said Rogers usually mixed vodka and orange juice drinks in the same type containers during their dates.

The all-woman jury deliberated a little more than six hours before returning with a verdict: Guilty of 13 counts of aggravated murder. Rogers managed to escape the death penalty following his March, 1988, conviction for the murder of Jennifer Lisa Smith when the jury which convicted him opted for a life sentence. But this jury wasn't as kind to Rogers. Three weeks later, jurors voted for death by lethal injection. Rogers remains on death row at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Dayton Leroy Rogers: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer

One That Got Away

As Oregon lawmen drew a bead on this violent wacko, they found out that he preferred prostitutes as his prey, had an appetite for kinky sex, and liked to start things rolling with vodka and orange juice. During the course of their investigation they also learned that he was Oregon’s worst serial killer to date, a murderer whose blood lust knew no bounds.

July 7, 1987, a Tuesday, was another hot, sultry summer day in Oregon. Heather Brown, 31, a prostitute, had worked the night before in her area along Portland's Union Avenue, a high-crime area dominated by prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers. Several other hookers had been in place that night, but despite the others, Heather, dressed in a skintight outfit that left nothing to the imagination, never had to wait long for a customer to come along. It had been a busy night for her, and as a result she had slept in until nearly noon.

When she climbed out of bed, she reached for her pack of cigarettes but found that it was empty. Needing a smoke, she left her two small children with her roommate and began walking toward a nearby 7-Eleven store, again dressed in the skintight outfit that she had worn the night before. About halfway to the store, a man in a blue Nissan pickup stopped and offered her a ride. Figuring that she could make a few quick bucks, Heather accepted and climbed inside. The driver headed out of the city toward a wooded area known as the Molalla forest.

The “john” introduced himself as Steve, and explained that he was a professional gambler from Nevada. They drove along for some time, and at one point stopped at a convenience store so that Heather could buy a pack of cigarettes and a Coke and so that “Steve” could purchase a six-pack of beer. Afterward they continued driving until they reached the wooded area, when their conversation turned to business. He said that he was going to drive into the hills, and that he wanted to “tie someone up and fuck them.” He moved to touch her thigh, but she pushed his hand away and demanded that he take her back to Portland. However, he refused and turned off onto an unpaved logging road where he sped up to about forty miles per hour.

Heather grabbed her shoes off of the floor, ready to make a break for it when the time was right. But the john caught her eyeing the door handle, and he reacted instantly. He swerved the pickup recklessly, so she would lose her sense of balance, and reached toward her, placing his hand over her chest to prevent her from jumping out of the truck. He then stepped on the accelerator and was soon speeding to more than sixty miles per hour. Nearly out of her mind with fear, Heather struggled violently and managed to break free of the man’s hold. In one swift move she opened the door and jumped from the speeding truck. The john slowed his vehicle a little but, apparently aware that a log truck was close behind, kept on going.

When the logger rounded the curve, he saw Heather lying in the road and slammed on his brakes. Seeing that she was injured and grateful that he hadn’t hit her, he helped her into the cab of his rig. One of her eyes was bleeding, which he helped her to cover, and she had other scrapes and cuts. She told the logger that she had to jump out of the man’s pickup because she feared that he was planning to kill her. Since she was obviously very shaken up, the logger didn’t probe her with questions. Instead, he arranged to have her driven to a medical clinic in Molalla, where it was determined that she had suffered a concussion and multiple abrasions to her left temple area, right forearm, and hand.

The matter was reported to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department and was written up as case number 87-20998. The incident report would become the first clue of the horror that was already well underway to veteran Detective John Turner, 44, a distinguished-looking man of Anglo-Saxon descent.

Turner had no way of knowing it yet, but the evil outrage that was taking its toll on Portland’s streetwalkers would virtually consume his life for much of the next two years and would eventually lead him to the most vicious and remorseless killer with whom he had ever dealt or would likely ever face again.

Stepping Out

It has been said that blood lust is an aberration unique to the human animal, that when it occurs, it does so without purpose and has no reverence for the normal needs intrinsic to humankind survival. The aberration--for that is what it really is--is clearly sexual violence and all evil, and it rears its diabolic head when its host fails to achieve sexual gratification in any other way. As a result, many--particularly women and children--who unwittingly come into contact with such an individual, die needlessly and without mercy at his hands.

Dayton Leroy Rogers, 33-years-old when his blood lust neared its peak, was fearsomely known to many of Portland, Oregon’s prostitutes as "Steve the gambler" and has been afflicted by bloodlust since his late teens, perhaps longer. It usually materialized in the form of a headache, inflicting on him a splitting, blinding white pain, and perhaps he was always subconsciously aware that only the sight of another's pain, the sounds of her anguish, or, ultimately, the spilling of her blood would relieve his own suffering. When the headaches began, the only way to make them go away was to let his dark side fully emerge.

Dayton seemed personable enough on the surface, as long as he wasn't in the midst of one of his mood swings. He was well known in the small communities of Woodburn and Canby, and people seemed to like him. A mechanic by trade, a skill he had learned in prison, Dayton ran a small successful engine repair business, was married, and had an eighteen-month-old boy who was a mirror image of him. Few people saw the evil that lay beneath the thin veneer, and many of those who were unlucky enough to witness his dark side firsthand did not live to talk about it.

Dayton's headaches seemed to worsen during the summer of 1987 and for that reason he was away from home much of the time. He claimed that he was working at his shop during his absences, which ranged from a few hours to all night, and his wife, Sherry, saw little reason, at first, to doubt him. When she would call to check up on him in the early evening, he usually answered the telephone. On the occasions that he didn't, he always had an excuse. He would explain that he had been in the middle of a project and hadn't wanted to leave it to pick up the phone. Or, more commonly, he would tell Sherry that he had gone out to get coffee, perhaps a bite to eat, anything that would convince her he was only taking a break to get away from the shop for a while. Often, however, he waited until it was very late, until he was certain that Sherry was in bed and fast asleep, before beginning the prowl.

Soon his working late became routine, a way of life, and Sherry's phone calls became less frequent. Although she began to hear stories about him frequenting the local taverns and bars, she tried very hard to maintain the faith she had always had in him. She might have become suspicious of his activities sooner if only she had taken the trouble to check the mileage on his pickup. But she hadn't, and he put more miles on the truck in a single week than most people drive in a month.

August 6, a Thursday, started out for the Rogers family like most other days. Dayton got up early, showered and shaved, had a light breakfast, and drove to his small engine repair shop in Woodburn before 8 a.m. Outwardly, he seemed happy. Business had picked up during the summer to the point where he had to hire a man to help him, and several new repair orders were coming in every day.

Soon, however, he began to feel the pressures of the backlog despite the new help, and his headaches became more frequent, as did his nocturnal outings. At times Sherry found herself wondering what had come over him, seeing him sitting quietly and staring into space, but she never said anything. Even though she had heard rumors about him carousing the nightspots and secretly feared that he may have been seeing other women, she somehow convinced herself that the pressures from his business had become too great, and she didn't want to do or say anything that might add to his troubles.

It wasn't until later that afternoon that the pounding inside Dayton's head became more than he could bear. He had to do something to stop the headache. He left his assistant in charge of the shop and drove to the liquor store at the North Park Plaza in Woodburn, where he purchased a ten-pack of Smirnoff vodka miniatures to replace the depleted stock he normally kept behind the seat of his pickup. He also purchased a couple of bottles of orange juice, the type in the disposable plastic bottles that he liked so well. He drank one of his crudely mixed screwdrivers quickly, and the headache subsided a little. Afterward, he returned to his shop and waited, thinking and planning the rest of the evening. He needed something more effective than the alcohol for his headache. The remedies were there, he knew, out in numbers on Portland's streets, his for the asking and a $50 bill. It had all been so easy with all of the others that there was no stopping him now.

At 8:30 p.m. Dayton drove home, where he had dinner with Sherry and his son. He explained that he had to return to the shop and work very late, perhaps into the early morning hours, to catch up on some of the overdue work. Sherry, an attractive curly-haired silver brunette at five feet four inches tall, 120 pounds, and three years younger than Dayton, didn't protest. She never did. Devoutly religious and somewhat naive, she always trusted her husband and rarely questioned his activities.

Half an hour later Dayton was gone. He stopped off at his shop, had a couple more drinks, and tinkered with some of the easier repair projects to kill time. Shortly after midnight he changed into his stepping-out clothes that he kept inside his special closet, and waited inside the shop a little longer until he was certain that Sherry had gone to bed. By 12:30 a.m. he was heading toward Portland.

One That Didn't Get Away

On August 7, 1987, by 1:00 a.m., the man who called himself “Steve the gambler” was back on Union Avenue, which was known as Portland’s “Prostitute Row,” looking for some kinky action.

After a short cruise, he stopped a blonde near the corner of Northeast Union Avenue and Wygant Street. He recognized her as a hooker he'd picked up before during Portland's 1987 Rose Festival. She was a somewhat large woman but, from a distance, appeared attractive. She knew how to dress and held her weight well. He pulled over and invited her inside. Recognizing him as a former customer, the woman didn't hesitate.

No one, except for the john, knows the precise details of what happened between the couple from 1-3:00 a.m. But at some time prior to 3:00 a.m., they pulled into the parking lot of a Denny’s restaurant on the 16200 block of Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard in Oak Grove, a Clackamas County suburb of Portland. With the taverns and bars having just closed, business was brisk there; it was the only restaurant open in the area at that time of the morning.

Michael Fielding, 32, who lived in an apartment nearby, had gone to bed a couple of hours earlier and was sleeping soundly when he suddenly heard the muffled screams of a woman in intense pain.

"Help me!" screamed the woman. "Please help me! Rape! I'm being raped!" As Fielding climbed out of bed and headed for the window that overlooked the parking lot, the screams became louder, no longer muffled. He arrived at the window in time to see a man run beneath a streetlight.

Moments earlier, James Dahlke, 50, had just arrived at Denny’s. He was alone as he parked his 1983 Ford van and started walking toward the restaurant. He heard a woman yelling and screaming, but couldn’t quite make out what she was saying. But he could see two human forms in the parking lot in the direction from which the screams had come. Although it was dark, he could see two people, a man and a woman, who appeared to be struggling with each other. After his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the parking lot, Dahlke could not believe what he saw. There, near the middle of the parking lot, lay a completely naked woman! A man was kneeling over her, but Dahlke could not immediately determine why.

Charles Gates, a handicapped customer, had just arrived and had barely situated himself in his wheelchair when he heard the screams. Already outside in the parking lot, he was on his way over to the woman, as was Dahlke. When the man kneeling over the woman saw Dahlke and Gates approaching, he jumped to his feet and ran in the opposite direction. Gates reached the woman first.

"My God! He slit her throat!" exclaimed Gates, falling from his wheelchair. Experienced in first aid and emergency medical treatment, Gates noted that the woman was not breathing and would not respond to questions. Finding no carotid pulse and undaunted by all of the blood, he immediately began CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

As a crowd gathered, Dahlke instructed restaurant personnel to call for medical and police help. Then he returned to the parking lot only to discover that Gates’s gallant attempts had not revived the woman. Dahlke could see why. The woman was covered with blood and stab wounds.

A couple of minutes later, Dahlke again spotted the man he'd seen only moments before kneeling by the nude victim. The man was coming around the side of a building adjacent to the restaurant and was headed for a small foreign pickup parked nearby.

“That’s him!” Someone shouted. “That’s the son-of-a-motherfucker!”

By that time two other bystanders, Stan Conner and Richard Bergio, had rushed over to see what was happening. After learning of the incident, Conner and Bergio ran for their own vehicles. They attempted to block off the exits from the parking lot with their cars, but the man with the pickup drove out over the sidewalk.

Bergio, determined not to let the guy get away, sped out of the parking lot in his own car in hot pursuit of the pickup, which was by now heading south on McLoughlin Boulevard toward Gladstone. Bergio chased the pickup through Oak Grove and into nearby Gladstone, at times at speeds over 100 miles an hour. Then, Bergio got close enough to the pickup to copy down its license plate number. Satisfied that he'd done all that he could, Bergio gave up the chase and returned to the crime scene, where he now found a team of Clackamas County sheriff's deputies and a rescue team from the Oak Lodge Fire Department.

The rescuers valiantly tried to revive the woman, but to no avail. A short time later, she was loaded onto an ambulance and taken to Emanuel Hospital and Health Center in Portland, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, several deputies rounded up witnesses and took a statement from each.

Six of those interviewed said they'd heard the woman's screams for at least two minutes before her body was found. One of the witnesses, Michael Fielding, told the deputies how the woman's screams had awakened him.

It had sounded as though her screams had come from inside a closed vehicle, through the glass, at first, said Fielding, because her shrieks were muffled. She was obviously in intense pain and had cried out that she was being raped. When Fielding got to the window, though, all he saw was the man who ran beneath the streetlight.

"It was like a spotlight," said Fielding. "If he hadn't run underneath it, I wouldn't have seen anything." He told the deputies that he had gotten a good look at the man, and that he could likely recognize him if he saw him again.

Deputies found several articles of clothing not far from where the victim's body had lain. The clothing, believed to be hers, included blue jeans, a hooded blue sweatshirt with white trim, and a single tennis shoe. But, the deputies wondered, where was the other shoe?

No identification, either in the clothing or on the parking lot, was found. But after additional searching, the deputies found a double-length pair of shoelaces, tied together with loops at both ends, prompting some to speculate that the woman had been hogtied at one point.


A short time later, Clackamas County Sheriff's Detectives John T. Turner and Mike Machado arrived at the crime scene. After being briefed on that morning's events, Turner took the license plate number (Oregon CYW 194) provided by Richard Bergio and ran it through the Oregon State Department of Motor Vehicles computer. Moments later, Turner learned that the pickup's registered owner was 33-year-old Dayton Leroy Rogers, whose address was listed as being in the 10500 block of South Heinz Road in Canby, Oregon, about 20 miles south of the crime scene.

Turner and a team of deputies reached Rogers' home at approximately 5:00 a.m. They saw no sign of the pickup on the property, and they were subsequently told by a relative that Rogers was not at home but could likely be found at his auto-repair shop in the 11600 block of Pacific Court in Woodburn, a few miles south of Canby. The relative told the sleuths that Rogers sometimes worked odd hours at the shop.

It was 5:35 a.m. when Detective Turner arrived at Rogers' shop. After a cursory glance around outside, he knocked on the door of the shop until a man with bloodshot eyes answered. Smelling of alcohol, the man identified himself as Dayton Rogers. After Turner told Rogers that he and the deputies were there as part of a homicide investigation, Rogers allowed them inside.

Although Detective Turner noted that Rogers' pupils were dilated, he observed that the man had no difficulty walking and that his speech was not slurred, prompting him to conclude that Rogers had been drinking but was not drunk. When asked, Rogers told the detective that he'd been at the shop all night and had been drinking bourbon and strawberry mixer.

"Mind if I take a look around?" asked Turner.

"Go ahead and search the place," said Rogers. "Search the truck, too, if you want to."

Rogers told the detective that his pickup had been at the shop all night. Turner shot him a dubious glance, walked over to the truck and raised the hood.

"Been here all night, huh?" asked Turner as he attempted to place his hand on the engine's valve cover, which was too hot to touch. "You haven't gone out at all, have you?"

Rogers, or somebody, had recently run the engine hard, thought Turner, as he pulled his hand away from the hot engine.

"What happened to your hand?" asked Turner, observing that Rogers' right hand was bandaged. "Cut yourself?"

Rogers explained that he'd been using a hacksaw a few hours earlier, when it suddenly slipped and cut his hand. Turner asked if he had left the shop for first aid; Rogers responded that he'd gone to Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City that same morning to have the wound treated.

So he had left the shop, reflected Turner, who also wondered why the man had initially lied about it. If he didn't have anything to hide, why was he acting so suspiciously?

There was no doubt that Rogers' pickup was the one seen fleeing the scene of the crime. It matched in appearance and the license plate identification was the same. Because of that and his suspicious demeanor, Rogers was arrested a few minutes later and taken to the Clackamas County Jail in Oregon City, where he was held on suspicion of murder.

Meanwhile, the detectives identified the dead woman as 25-year-old Jennifer Lisa Smith, mother of two. Her last known address was in the 4800 block of North Albina Avenue in Portland, not far from Union Avenue. Additional background on Smith revealed that she had an arrest record for prostitution and indecent exposure.

Background on Rogers revealed that he was no stranger to law enforcement, either. In 1972, when he was 18, Rogers picked up a 15-year-old girl who had been hitchhiking in Eugene, Oregon. He had convinced her to go to a remote area to have sex with him, detectives learned. Risking a charge of statutory rape, Rogers picked the girl up again a few days later and they went together to a park to gather wood to make whistles for neighborhood kids. But he took her into a wooded area to again have sex with her.

After lying down on the ground, Rogers leaned over as if to kiss the girl. Instead, according to police reports, he stabbed her in the abdomen with a hunting knife. After pulling the knife from her stomach, the girl, bleeding profusely and in intense pain, convinced Rogers to take her to a hospital for treatment. She survived and later told authorities about the attack. On February 13, 1973, Rogers pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was placed on four years' probation for that attack.

Less than six months later, the detectives learned, Rogers assaulted two 15-year-old girls with a soft-drink bottle. Although charged with one count each of second- and third-degree assault, Rogers was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, Oregon's equivalent to an insanity plea; he was sent to the Oregon State Hospital by Lane County Circuit Court Judge Helen Frye. He was released from the hospital on December 12, 1974.

These incidents prompted Darryl L. Larson, Lane County Deputy District Attorney, to write an after-sentence report on Rogers: "This man is an extreme danger to the community, particularly to young women. He is both sexually and physically violent and, without question, is a murder case looking for a place to happen.”

In January 1976, Rogers was indicted on a charge of first-degree rape in Clackamas County, but he was eventually acquitted of the charge. In February 1976, however, while the Clackamas County rape charge was still pending, Rogers picked up two Keizer, Oregon high school girls, and at knifepoint allegedly raped one and threatened to rape the other.

According to John L. Collins, Yamhill County District Attorney, the two girls had skipped school and were walking down a Keizer street when Rogers saw them and convinced them to go with him.

"He was a good talker and his method at the time was to pick up girls, particularly blonde girls," said Collins. "They got into the car with him, and they went to get some beer." After drinking beer and smoking marijuana together, said Collins, Rogers took a paring knife from the glove box of the car he was driving and threatened the girls with it. He used coat-hanger wire to bind the girls' wrists and ankles.

"Afterward he apologized and pretended like it was all some kind of game," said Collins. Rogers was nonetheless indicted on charges of rape and coercion; he pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Rogers was convicted only on the coercion charge and received a maximum five-year prison sentence.

"This was in a less-enlightened time," said Collins, "when juries often felt that if the woman or girl contributed to the rape in any way, they would not convict him. In this case, I think it was because they drank beer and smoked marijuana with him."

As the detectives probed deeper into Rogers' background, they learned that he had been in and out of jail for a variety of reasons, including parole and probation violations and for kidnapping a local prostitute. All in all, the detectives learned, Rogers spent 27 months in Oregon prisons. His parole was formally terminated in January 1983.


Meanwhile, acting on a tip from one of Rogers' relatives, investigators returned to the suspect's Woodburn auto-repair shop, where they sifted ashes from a wood stove in Rogers' office. There they found what appeared to be remnants of a burned tennis shoe. Analysis later determined that metal parts found in the wood stove closely matched the metal parts of the shoe that was discovered in the parking lot where Jennifer Smith was murdered. They also found pieces of colored glass, rhinestones, and star-shaped grommets inside the stove, their sources unknown.

Rogers' truck had been impounded shortly after his arrest, after warrants had been obtained, and it was carefully searched for evidence. According to criminalists, there was blood inside the cab of the pickup, numerous knife cuts on the dashboard, upholstery, ceiling, and passenger door. They also found a single fingerprint matching that of Jennifer Smith's right ring finger on the outside handle of the passenger door. The examination and search also turned up a small green band in the bed of the pickup; they later determined it had come from a small container of ready-to-drink orange juice.

Next, in their efforts to build a stronger case against Rogers, the detectives went to Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City to see how much of the suspect's story about his wounded hand was true. After questioning the emergency room doctor who had attended to the wounds, the detectives learned that the cuts were not jagged as they would have been if a hacksaw blade had made them. They had been smooth and clean, more like wounds that would have been caused by a knife blade.

Although gut feelings told the investigators that Rogers was their man, they nonetheless assembled a photo lay-down, a group of six photographs of men, including Rogers, who had similar appearances. They displayed the lay-down to eyewitness Michael Fielding; it took him less than 20 seconds to identify Dayton Rogers as the man he saw stop briefly under a streetlight as he fled the Denny’s restaurant parking lot.

Because Jennifer Smith was a known prostitute and because of Rogers' continued interest in hookers, detectives hit Portland’s streets and interviewed as many hookers as they could, focusing their attention on those who knew Jennifer. Not surprisingly, the detectives found several who knew Rogers, too.

Many of the hookers that the detectives talked to identified Rogers from a photo lay-down; several said he'd told them his name was Steve. One of the women even told investigators that she saw Jennifer Smith walk toward his pickup, as if to get inside, three hours before she was found murdered.

The detectives learned that he nearly always told the girls he was a professional gambler, usually saying that he was from Las Vegas but sometimes saying that he was from Reno, and that he typically offered $40 to $80 for a sexual scenario that involved bondage. He always had the girls completely undress, after which he bound their hands and feet at the wrists and ankles with rope, dog collars, wire, nylon stockings, shoe laces, and the like--anything that would hold their arms and feet securely in place. But many said that Rogers went far beyond bondage, subjecting them to intense physical pain, torture, even mutilation.

One prostitute told the detectives that Rogers had a foot fetish and found women's arches sexually arousing. An interesting point, the detectives noted, considering that Jennifer Smith was barefoot when her body was found. 0ther prostitutes said that all of the "dates" occurred in the cab of Rogers' pickup, and Rogers usually began by drinking vodka and orange juice. He usually stopped at a convenience store, said the hookers, where he bought ready-to-drink juice in small plastic containers.

One of the prostitutes accompanied a detective to a convenience store and picked out the brand of orange juice Rogers usually bought, in small plastic containers with green plastic caps security-sealed with green bands, just like the one found in the bed of Rogers' pickup. He usually bought the vodka in the individual serving, one-and-a-half-ounce bottles, like those served by airlines.

One hooker told the detectives that Rogers picked her up and agreed to pay her $50 for straight sex. Instead, he tied her hands and feet and tortured her for hours by biting her on the breasts, buttocks, and feet, hard enough to draw blood. Another prostitute said she was subjected to the same type of treatment, except that he threatened to cut off her breasts with a knife. Yet another hooker told the detectives that Rogers cut off her clothes with a machete, and another said he cut the heel of her foot with a carving knife. One of the women said that he had subjected her to so much pain during a six-hour ordeal that she'd asked him to kill her. All of the women said that Rogers liked to masturbate during the encounters.

From the definitive autopsy of Jennifer Smith's body, Dr. Karen Gunson, Deputy State Medical Examiner, determined that there were at least 11 knife wounds to the victim's body, 10 of which were very deep. The medical examiner said that there were eight stab wounds to the front of Jennifer's body, one of which severed a major artery on the left side of her chest and was likely the cause of death.

Jennifer also sustained slashing wounds to both of her breasts, two deep stab wounds to her abdomen that pierced her stomach, and a V-shaped stab wound in her back that pierced her liver. Dr. Gunson explained that the V-shaped wound might have been caused by two stabs that had overlapped.

The victim also had slash wounds to both of her hands that cut all the way to the bone, wounds which Dr. Gunson described as defensive injuries caused when the victim tried to grab the knife blade from her attacker or otherwise tried to prevent him from stabbing her. Jennifer's throat had also been slit.

"There were other wounds," said Dr. Gunson, including two quarter-inch-wide bruises around both wrists. These bruises indicated that Jennifer had been tied up, perhaps with the shoelaces found at the crime scene. Gunson said that "a significant amount of pressure" must have been applied to Jennifer's wrists for such bruising to occur.

After the investigators presented their case to a Clackamas County grand jury, Dayton Leroy Rogers was indicted on a charge of aggravated murder in the death of Jennifer Smith. The indictment alleged that Rogers murdered Smith during the course of rape, kidnapping, sexual abuse, and torture. It also alleged that Rogers killed Smith to cover up the other crimes.

Rogers retained Attorney Arthur B. Knauss of Oregon City to represent him, and he pleaded innocent to the charges. He was held without bail.

The Molalla Forest

In the meantime, on Monday, August 31st, Everett Banyard, 46, a crossbow hunter in pursuit of prey on a private 90,000-acre timber farm southeast of Molalla, Oregon, nearly stumbled over the nude, partly buried body of a young woman. The body, in an advanced state of decomposition, was partially covered with brush. Unnerved by his gruesome discovery, the hunter left the forest as quickly as possible and reported his find to the Clackamas County authorities.

When investigators arrived at the remote site--a recreation area near the Molalla River that is popular with fishermen, swimmers, hunters, hikers, and other outdoors types--the bow hunter led them up an old dirt logging road through the rugged mountain forest, mixed with evergreens and deciduous trees, to a nearly vertical slope where he'd discovered the body. Even though it was a little difficult to get to, the investigators had no trouble finding the corpse.

At first glance, the detectives couldn't tell if the body had been buried by the forces of nature or if someone had attempted to conceal it. But one thing was certain--she was a murder victim.

Due to the lateness of the hour, no attempt was made to search the crime scene that evening. Instead, deputies were posted nearby as sentries to protect the scene until criminalists arrived the next morning.

Shortly after a search for evidence began the next day, searchers found two more corpses within 50 feet of each other, in the same general area as the first. The scene appeared to be a "cluster dump" similar to those used by the Green River serial killer in Washington State. Unsure of what they were dealing with here, the investigators temporarily halted the search while Colt, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department's tracking dog, was brought in to assist in the search for more bodies.

Over the next five days, a total of seven female corpses were brought down from the forest ridge. All were nude when found, and all bore signs of stabbing, torture, and mutilation. Some of the victims’ feet had been crudely removed at the ankle with what appeared to be a blade with a serrated edge, like that of a hacksaw. One victim’s foot had been cut approximately two-thirds of the way through the bone, with the remainder broken off. This prompted the detectives to consider that the perpetrator had sawed these women’s feet off while they were still alive and conscious in an attempt to elicit additional pain and suffering—however, the one victim whose bone had only been partially sawed through and then broken the rest of the way likely had gone into shock, and the breaking of the bone had likely been a last-ditch attempt at breaking through the shock barrier to elicit one final response to pain. Each of the victims were in varying degrees of decomposition, but two were markedly more advanced, having been there considerably longer than the others.

Despite the striking similarities between the female victims on the Molalla forest slope and Jennifer Smith—nudity, signs of stabbing, torture, mutilation—the detectives didn’t, at least at first, focus on Dayton Leroy Rogers as a possible suspect. He was in jail, charged with a different murder. However, as Detective Turner walked around the forest site he soon spotted miniature vodka bottles, an old package that they had been purchased in, and disposable orange juice bottles—the same kind found in the back of Dayton Rogers’ pickup. As a result, it didn't take long for Turner to begin focusing on Dayton Rogers as the prime suspect in the Molalla forest murders. He also reasoned that, when all was said and done, many if not most of the Molalla forest victims would turn out to have a history of prostitution arrests.

The dead, it turned out, were identified over the next several months as Lisa Marie Mock, 23; Maureen Ann Hodges, 26; Christine Lotus Adams, 35; Nondace Kae Cervantes, 26, a.k.a. Noni Kae Austin; Reatha Gyles,16; Cynthia Diane DeVore, 21. One victim remains unidentified to this day. And just as Turner had figured, most of the victims had either worked as prostitutes at the time of their deaths, or they had arrest records for prior prostitution offenses. Some were heroin addicts. Only one had no links to prostitution or drugs.

At the time of the gruesome discovery in the Molalla forest, the investigators wouldn't say what they had for evidence against Rogers. However, one source close to the investigation maintained that he was the prime suspect in the forest murders and that they had enough evidence to bring him to trial in those killings, but they wanted to wait and see how his trial for the murder of Jennifer Smith turned out before charging him with the Molalla forest murders.

The First Trial

At Rogers' trial, which began in February 1988 in the courtroom of Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Patrick D. Gilroy, Deputy District Attorney Andrejs I. Eglitis told the jury that Rogers murdered Jennifer Smith by design, following a pattern he'd established with prostitutes. Eglitis called Rogers a "vicious predator" who killed for a "sexual thrill.''

"You'll find that the reason he went to downtown Portland satisfy what you will find to be his bizarre sexual appetite," said Deputy D.A. Eglitis.

"You'll find that his sexual appetite included bondage, masturbation, and intent to inflict intense physical pain."

Rogers' attorney, Arthur Knauss, told jurors that they would not like his client, but insisted they were there to decide whether what Mr. Rogers did was tantamount to a criminal act and not to judge his sexual mores. Knauss admitted that Rogers killed Jennifer Smith, but contended that he did so in self-defense.

There it was, the preposterous claim of self-defense. Eglitis had known that it was coming, and he had prepared himself to accept that such a defense would be presented. He couldn’t believe it, but he accepted it. He knew he would convince the jury otherwise. The evidence would show them the truth.

Knauss maintained that Smith spotted more than $200 in Rogers' wallet when they stopped at a convenience store to buy orange juice and she decided to rob the defendant at knifepoint. Later, when Rogers got out of the truck to urinate, Smith pulled a knife from the glove compartment and brought it close to Rogers' throat and demanded his wallet, declared Knauss. A struggle followed and turned into a wrestling match for the knife, in which Jennifer Smith was stabbed several times and killed purely by accident.

Early in the trial, the jury heard testimony from several witnesses who said they heard the victim scream in intense pain for approximately two minutes before her body was discovered. Prosecutor Eglitis also said that there were deep cuts to Jennifer's breasts, which indicated that she'd been tortured; and he presented testimony from the medical examiner who displayed graphic photos of Jennifer's wounds.

At one point in the trial, jurors heard testimony from the woman Rogers had stabbed in 1972, when he was 18 and she was 15. She explained how she had met Rogers when he picked her up while she hitchhiked in Eugene, and how he took her into a remote area to have sex on that day and on a subsequent date.

"We'd hold hands and swing around and talk and smile," said the prior victim, who came close to tears at several points. "Then we sat down, and we were talking and he tickled my legs and told me to close my eyes...Then I felt the plunge."

She explained that Rogers had stabbed her in the belly, just left of her navel. She stopped momentarily and showed jurors a six-inch vertical scar.

"I thought a rattlesnake had bit me--if it wasn't that, I thought a horse had kicked me," said the woman. "I looked down and saw the knife in my abdomen and the blood coming out." The woman testified that Rogers told her he just couldn't trust her any more and was afraid that she might turn him in for having sex with her while she was underage. Fearing that he would finish her off, she lied to him and told him she loved him.

"I said, 'Dayton, I love you.' He began to tell me he would marry me and do anything," she said, if she promised to tell the police she stabbed herself accidentally. She agreed to his plan.

But doctors at Eugene's Sacred Heart Hospital told her they didn't believe the wound was self-inflicted. "I was afraid he would come there and kill me," she said. Then, she added, she changed her mind and told police the truth.

Another witness told the jury about an incident that occurred between her and Rogers on February 20, 1976. According to the witness, who was 19 at the time of the incident, Rogers picked her up as she walked toward Salem to visit her boyfriend, who was incarcerated at the Oregon State Correctional Institution.

The woman was in the back seat of Rogers' car when he suddenly pulled over and took a knife from the glove compartment. She said he "hogtied" her and then cut off her clothing with the knife.

"I was scared he was, you know, he was going to kill me," said the woman. "He said he had to kill me because he was afraid I'd go to the police." She testified that Rogers eventually let her out of the car near her grandmother's home in Oregon City.

Janet K. Anderson, a Clackamas County corrections officer who supervised Rogers while he was on parole for the 1976 coercion conviction in which he tied up two other high school girls at knifepoint, testified that she interviewed the defendant in September 1982.

"I asked him if he were to do this all over again, if he would do anything differently," Anderson testified. "He indicated...there would not be a witness next time."

When cross-examined by Defense Attorney Knauss, Anderson told the jurors that she took Rogers' statements seriously, but hadn't included them in her report.

"Mr. Rogers' intentions appear sincere to maintain counsel and to remain crime-free," Anderson wrote in a letter to the State Board of Parole, part of which was read to the jury. "Mr. Rogers does not appear to be a threat to the community." The parole officer added that the language used in the letter and her report was typical of language used when terminating parole supervision. She said her personal notes on Rogers, however, "indicated that the suspect appears well-adjusted, but because of the crime and the surrounding circumstances, one never knows."

At another point in the trial, Rogers testified in his own defense before the seven-man, five-woman jury. He told them he paid Jennifer Smith $40 for a sexual encounter that involved bondage. He explained that when he got out of the truck to urinate, after having bound Jennifer's hands and feet with shoelaces, the prostitute slipped out of her bindings and took a knife from the glove box. When he got back inside the truck, "that's when she attacked me." Rogers said that Jennifer, while still nude, held the knife to his throat and ordered him not to move and to give her his wallet. "Do it or die," he said Jennifer told him. He refused and fought back. Fearing for his life, he said he knocked her arm away and wrestled her for the knife, which he eventually obtained.

I got a hold of it and used the knife on her...I was just going back and forth in virtually any direction I could," testified Rogers, explaining how Jennifer received so many cuts. She eventually jumped from the truck, and he chased her across the parking lot. He eventually grabbed her, he said, and she fell to the pavement.

"Both of our feet entangled," he said. "She went down backward, and I fell down on top of her. On the way down, that's when I stabbed her in the upper area here," he testified, indicating the right side of his chest, near the shoulder.

"No one wants Dayton Leroy Rogers released," Knauss had said only minutes before the jury left the courtroom to decide his client's fate. "I don't want him released. You don't want him released. I question whether Mr. Rogers even wants himself released. What is needed is permanent isolation of this man. In his fantasyland, he's become the sexual monster you've heard about from these girls. He's developed and nurtured these feelings into a ritual. It's a pattern you can't ignore. He's a sick man.

"But do we kill him? Do we have a death sentence for people who are as sick and depraved as this?" continued Knauss. "Look at the evidence. After the killing of Miss Smith, he goes back to work and thinks about going out to a coffee shop. The state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he's a sick man." But, argued Knauss, he doesn't deserve a death sentence.

Four hours later, the twelve jurors returned and announced that they had unanimously voted that the murder of Jenny Smith was deliberate. They also unanimously voted that Jenny’s murder was an unreasonable response to any provocation from the victim. However, after one juror adamantly opposed the death penalty, all twelve agreed that Rogers would not pose a continuing threat to society because he would be imprisoned for life. Judge Gilroy immediately sentenced Dayton to life in prison.

Detective John Turner and his colleagues were devastated by the sentence. The jurors apparently thought that a life sentence meant that Dayton would never be released, but they had been wrong. Under a life sentence he would be eligible for parole someday, even if it was twenty or thirty years down the road. They had inadvertently given Dayton Leroy Rogers yet another chance to escape his just punishment, another chance to slip through the cracks of the system.

The Second Trial

With the Molalla forest case looming in the future, the prosecution had another chance to get a death sentence for Dayton. It was the good guys' ace in the hole, and they would play it. For the next two months, Turner and his colleagues worked closely with the D.A.’s office and presented the worst serial murder case in Oregon's history to a grand jury. On May 4, 1988, Dayton was indicted on several charges of aggravated murder under various theories of law for the deaths of Reatha Gyles, Lisa Mock, Noni Cervantes, Cynthia DeVore, Christine Adams, and Maureen Hodges. He was not charged in the death of the unidentified victim, although the investigators were certain that he had murdered her, too. As before, Dayton pleaded innocent. This time around Christopher E. Burris, not Arthur Knauss, was hired to represent him.

Turner and his fellow detectives spent the next eight months rounding up additional witnesses to interview, as well as reinterviewing many of the others. They carefully went over the evidence, and they put their case books in order. By the time the trial began, they knew the case frontward and backward.

Jury selection, which began on February 6, 1989, took nearly two months to complete. Ironically, considering the types of crimes Dayton was being charged with committing, an all-woman panel of twelve was seated, with an additional female as an alternate.

When the trial finally opened on March 30, 1989, this time in the courtroom of Clackamas County Circuit Judge Raymond R. Bagley Jr., Eglitis outlined his case for the jurors, contending that a knife identical to the one that was used to kill Jenny Smith was found near the Molalla forest victims' bodies. He described the torture, the grisly details of victims having their feet sawed or cut from their bodies, and how one, Noni Cervantes, had been eviscerated from a machete having been inserted in the area of her vagina and subsequently sliced up the middle to the sternum. By the time Eglitis was finished with his presentation of what the jury would be considering, there was little left for the imagination.

For the next five weeks, the jury heard horrifying testimony from many of the women whom Dayton Leroy Rogers had violated and tortured at one time or another but who had miraculously survived. Each explained in graphic detail, often tearfully, the atrocities that Dayton had committed against them.

One former prostitute testified about her fifth and final date with Dayton, an encounter that lasted in excess of six hours after he picked her up on Southeast 82nd Avenue and drove her to the Molalla forest.

"He got out of the truck," she testified, "and went over to the side where you could see over the forest. He said how beautiful it was. I went back to the truck and started to get undressed. He came up behind me and started to put the bondage devices on. When I told him they were too tight, that they were cutting into my wrists, he said that's what he wanted to do.

"He started biting on my breasts," she continued. "He was biting and tearing. I told him to please stop. 'That's too rough! This isn't right!' I cried and I begged for him to stop. And the more I pleaded and begged, the worse the abuse got. When I screamed too loudly, he became concerned and put something up against my neck, which I assumed was a knife. He told me to be quiet, or else I'd really have something to cry about. I didn't say anything, and I tried to stifle the sobs as much as I could."

"Did you say anything to the defendant?" asked Eglitis.


"What were you doing then?"

"Just existing."

One of Dayton’s relatives also testified, telling the jurors how he helped Dayton establish his business and then closed it down after Dayton's arrest. He told of how he found all of the suspicious items in the wood stove inside Dayton's shop, including items that appeared to be the metal inner portions of shoes. He burst into tears twice during his testimony and diverted his eyes away from Dayton most of the time he was on the witness stand.

In tears and in tones that were barely audible, Floria Adams, the fifteen-year-old daughter of victim Christine Adams, testified that decorative studs, star-shaped grommets that were found in Dayton's wood stove, came from her mother's pants. Sobbing, she told the jurors that she recognized the studs.

Bob Thompson, the Oregon State Police criminologist who worked closely on the case, explained how he had found pieces of colored glass in Lisa Mock's hair and how, although he hadn't been able to determine their source, they were similar to glass parts found inside Dayton's wood stove. He also testified that hairs found inside Dayton's pickup were macroscopically and microscopically similar to head hairs he compared from the remains of Lisa Mock, Noni Cervantes, and Cynthia DeVore.

"This man," said Eglitis in his closing argument, pointing at Dayton, “this man is obsessed, totally consumed in a sexual way with a woman's feet and dominance. What is the ultimate act of dominance? It is to remove that foot. We submit that is what happened in the Molalla forest."

Eglitis also reminded the jurors about all of the orange juice containers and miniature liquor bottles found at the Molalla forest crime scene, insisting that they made up a part of Rogers’"signature."

"If there is a signature to a crime, under those circumstances you can look at the signature," said Eglitis, "and see the identity of the killer. This evidence is the mark of Zorro. It's the signature. The defendant, ladies of the jury, not only committed these murders, but he might as well have written his name on the victims' corpses."

As in the Jenny Smith case, there had been little doubt at the trial's outset that Dayton would be convicted of the Molalla forest murders, which is precisely what happened on May 4. After barely six hours of deliberation, the jury found Dayton guilty of aggravated murder on all counts. For the first time in public, Dayton, dressed in a conservative dark-blue suit, displayed emotion by covering his head with his hands. Shaking his head, he could be heard saying "No" repeatedly.

Only the question of his sentence remained. Much of the testimony the jury would hear to decide his fate centered on Dayton's character, his worthiness to remain alive, and psychological arguments about his past violence.

James B. Hupy, a vocational instructor at the Oregon State Correctional Institution, explained how he had taught Dayton the skills he needed to become a mechanic when Dayton was in prison for the 1976 attack on the two Keizer, Oregon high school girls he had picked up when the girls skipped school. Dayton learned fast, said Hupy. In barely two years he went from being a person with little or no mechanical skills to someone with high skills. Hupy said he selected Dayton to be his apprentice a few months before Dayton was due to be released from prison.

James E. Miller, another vocational instructor at the prison, testified that he knew Dayton before he was arrested for the 1976 offenses. The two of them, he said, played table tennis together at Seventh-Day Adventist social gatherings. Miller explained that he was surprised when he ran into Dayton in prison, but despite his offenses, he was determined to help him. In fact, Dayton helped organize Adventist church services at the prison, which attracted about a dozen inmates. Dayton always played guitar at the services and seemed sincere in his religious convictions.

When the psychological testimony was presented, psychologist James R. Adams explained that Dayton committed violent acts only under particular circumstances, such as when he was intoxicated and sexually aroused in a scenario that included bondage and foot fetishism. For him to become violent he also must possess a feeling that he had been cheated, either emotionally or sexually, and he must always have a helpless woman as his victim. He also needed to maintain a reasonable certainty that he wouldn't be caught for his crimes, and his victim must be someone he can dehumanize, such as a prostitute. Adams's contention was that Dayton needed all of these factors present for him to become violent. In prison, said Adams, those factors would not be available to him, and he would not be a threat to men.

On the other hand, said John B. Cochran, senior forensics psychologist at the Oregon State Hospital, Dayton would in fact pose a continuing threat even in prison. Cochran detailed a homosexual relationship that Dayton had been engaged in and contended that, without availability of women as victims, it would only be a matter of time before he began selecting male victims.

Cochran, who has studied many serial killers over the course of his career and has served as a consultant to the Green River Task Force, explained that the very act of murder can be very pleasurable for sexually sadistic serial killers such as Dayton.

"If you compare it with normal, everyday sexual experiences," he said, "there just is no comparison."

Cochran elaborated by explaining that most serial killers fantasize about murder so frequently that killing becomes second nature to them. Some even develop a sexual bond to the murder weapon they use.

In arguing that Dayton's life be spared, Christopher Burris said that his client was a sick man who should be locked away forever, not put to death. He cited Dayton's good prison record, that he was a model prisoner who helped establish church services and had experienced no conflicts with other inmates. Burris suggested that the murders and other crimes Dayton committed were not carried out in a deliberate state of mind.

Eglitis, on the other hand, characterized Dayton as a walking time bomb. He said it was only a matter of time before he began his pattern of deceit all over again. He described Dayton as clever, one who was capable not only of luring and then deceiving his victims but of deceiving and manipulating the psychologists who had examined him. He had done it time and time again and would continue in the same pattern if given the opportunity.

"He can in every respect," said Eglitis, addressing the jury in his bid for the death penalty, "including his appearance, walk among you without giving any indication of the horrors that are within him. Dayton Leroy Rogers is a walking time bomb. He is an act of criminal violence looking for a place to happen. He's capable of fooling psychologists. He's capable of fooling psychiatrists. I hope to God he's not capable of fooling you."

On Wednesday, June 7, 1989, after more than seventeen hours of grueling deliberation, the jury voted unanimously that Dayton had murdered his victims deliberately and without reasonable, if any, provocation, and that he would be a continuing threat to society whether behind prison walls or on the outside. Judge Bagley sentenced Dayton Leroy Rogers to death by lethal injection.

"It was righteous justice," said Turner, solemn-faced but obviously pleased after hearing the verdict and sentence. "Righteous in the sense that an all-female jury convicted him and decided his fate."


Although John Turner, his colleagues, and Andy Eglitis couldn't have been happier with the outcome, they knew that the bizarre case of Dayton Leroy Rogers was not over. It would never be over in their lifetimes, even if Dayton's appointment with the executioner's needle was, in fact, ever carried out. Dayton had left behind too many deaths, too many scars, too many shattered lives, not only among his own family but, especially, among the families of his countless victims, whether dead or alive, for his rampage to be quickly forgotten.

Aside from testifying at his first trial, Dayton Leroy Rogers has not spoken to authorities since invoking his rights against self-incrimination shortly after his arrest for the murder of Jenny Smith, and again when Detective Machado tried to question him about the Molalla forest murders. He has shown no remorse for his crimes.

The Oregon Supreme Court upheld his convictions, but his sentence of death was overturned by the Oregon Supreme Court in the spring of 2000 for the second time. Dayton will at some point, likely in the year 2001, go back to court for yet another sentencing phase. If he is resentenced to death, he will die by lethal injection. Otherwise, he will be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole, an option now available due to the enactment of recent legislation. For now, Dayton sits in a single cell on Death Row at Oregon State Penitentiary. He is allowed twenty minutes out of every twenty-four hours to shower, shave, and exercise.

Many of Dayton Leroy Rogers's surviving victims have started new lives, working to overcome drug habits and become productive citizens. A few have died as a direct result of their life-styles, and others are still working the streets.

Molalla Victim #6 is still unidentified, and there are no new leads to her identity.

One burning question remains in the case of Dayton Leroy Rogers: How many other bodies, victims of Dayton's blood lust, are still lying in Oregon's forests awaiting discovery? Unfortunately, unless Dayton decides to talk, that question may never be answered.

Rogers, Dayton Leroy

(1953- )

AKA: Molalla Forest Killer


DATE(S): 1987

VENUE: Portland, Ore.


MO: Torture-slayer and "ripper" of female prostitutas

DISPOSITION: Life with 20-year minimum on one count, 1988; condemned on seven counts, 1989.



Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers at the time of his arrest.

Dayton Leroy Rogers, 1993.

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers, aka the 'Molalla Forest Killer,' appears in court at his re-sentencing hearing.

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers



The Molalla Forest
(Clackamas County Sheriff's Dept.)

Investigators searching the forest area
(Clackamas Sheriff's Dept)

Investigators find scattered remains of Rogers' victims
(Clackamas County Sheriff's Dept.)

John Turner, back to camera, with Sheriff Brill Brooks
(Clackamas Sheriff's Dept.)

Jennifer Smith's wounded hands

Wounds to Rogers' hands

Det. Mike Machado (King)

Detective John Turner (King)




Lisa Mock, Maureen Hodges, Christine Adams, Nondace Cervantes, Reatha Gyles and Cynthia DeVore

Lisa Mock, 23

Maureen Hodges, 26

Christine Adams, 35

Nondace Cervantes, 26

Reatha Gyles, 16

Cynthia DeVore, 21


Mugshot of Jennifer Lisa Smith