Friday, November 23, 2018

OJ Simpson and Glen Rogers: The Juice, Road Dog, and Murder on Bundy Drive


Rating: 2 Stars

Oi. This book was so...frustrating. It's hard to rate and I am not totally comfortable with the 2 stars, but I am also not to comfortable giving it a much higher rating. I simply can not believe that a guy so stupid as to use his own name when checking into motels where women would later be discovered dead, is at the same time intelligent enough to not only frame OJ for Nicole's and Ron's murders, but to do so in a complex fashion that this book would like you to believe. I guess if I were to have to judge each part of the book on its own, the first section that details Rogers' life and crimes would be a 3.5 or a 4. But the second part relating to the conspiracy theory that Rogers and Simpson were both involved in the robbery-turned-murder? Definitely much lower, 1 star, 1.5 maybe. There are several contradictory statements and some really outlandish theories, and a fair amount of condescension sprinkled in as though readers would be absolutely stupid to believe anything but the murders playing out this way.

The first section of the book details an absolutely horrific upbringing and I am honestly surprised that Glen Rogers even made it to adulthood. He killed who knows how many people - by his own estimates according to the book, there could've been seventy, though he later recanted these statements. One might wonder if that were the case, why they had not all been connected by now, and why hasn't he been charged? Well, the honest to God reason is that it seems that no one really gives a shit. Seriously. There were so many points in the book that I was practically pulling out my own hair wondering why the police never seemed interested in prosecuting him for the Mark Peters murder. That alone could have saved countless victims later on. But, as we all know, justice works differently for different people in our country so if you're from a poorer class or -gasp- a prostitute, good luck on your own. And those were the women who typically met their ends when they came into contact with Rogers. This quote is particularly telling:

"The capture of Glen Edward Rogers ended a nationwide manhunt for one of the country's most wanted fugitives. He had run free - though he was hardly running because nobody was chasing him - for nearly two years following the mysterious disappearance and still unexplained death of Mark Peters. Citing cost, authorities in Hamilton, Ohio, where Peters was murdered, and in Kentucky, where the body was dumped, decided not to follow Glen's trail to California even to question him. He was a career criminal with a long rap sheet going back to his preteen years. But he had been ignored. Hamilton police were happy to forget him, relying on the old police adage: If he isn't in our jurisdiction, he isn't our problem. They had enough of their own troubles without worrying about someone who had moved away. But Glen Rogers could not longer be ignored. His flight and six-week killing spree ended on a Kentucky road that day, but not before four unlucky women met violent deaths. And evidence suggests that Glen Rogers' homicidal ways may have started many years earlier" (35%).

Some seriously fucked up things were going on in his life when he was a child and no one should be surprised that he turned out the way he did. His mom pimped him out to pretty much anyone willing to pay - including male family members. He also has what seems to be pretty severe brain damage which he received from being beaten when he was young. On top of that, he was reportedly prostituting himself out at a pretty early age and there are also statements that he was abused by prison guards when he was in youth detention. It is not a huge leap to think he may have also been abused by other inmates, the authors say.

I am completely flabbergasted by this idea of Glen Rogers being such a ladies' man. The whole 'Casanova Killer' thing is so weird, because he is not at all attractive. I get that it was the 80s and mullets were sort of acceptable but come on. The fact that Rogers, like other serial kills, has groupies is an additionally gross facet of this story. That he had enough presence of mind to capitalize on this "fame" is also gross and I wish it wasn't allowed. There's a quote in the book (I accidentally deleted what % I found it at though) that stated:

"It wasn't long after his capture that Rogers decided he needed attention. He placed a call to Richmond Register reporter Todd Blevins. Blevins had given his business card to a female admirer of Rogers who visited him in jail."

This is disgusting on so many levels. Not only does this dirt bag want attention, he has crazy women who visit him. Again, how is he any kind of 'Casanova'? And more...

"...Glen could stay occupied just reading his mail. Most of it was from female admirers and groupies, former girlfriend Maria Gyore, and a girl from nearby Berea with the air of a coal miner's daughter who pretended to be a relative. She visited and wrote constantly, falsely logging in at the jail as a 'step-niece'" (45%)

Seriously. WTF. He also signed a bunch of index cards that were sold for $30 a pop in some criminal magazine. All of this is so weird, I don't understand the type of people who are attracted to criminals - especially ones guilty of exceptionally violent crimes.

I think it is important to look at the "unsolved" murder of Mark Peters, because had Glen Rogers been apprehended then, so many others would have been spared - whether or not his victims really number in the seventies or not. In this vein, the authors present a well-researched case that supports that idea. It makes little sense to me why the authorities waited so long to even identify Peters' remains. They lay out plenty of evidence  showing that Rogers' was his murderer, and yet it was never a priority. Why they did not act on the evidence is not explained, other than the costs and such that I indicated earlier. A very unfortunate lapse in professional judgment and they can be held as much responsible as Rogers himself. It is also suggested that, given Rogers' history of working as a prostitute at truck stops along the interstate near his hometown, that his relationship with Mark Peters may have been sexual as well, as the older man supposedly gave Rogers money and here it is implied that money was for sex. Either way, the murder was one no one seemed interested in investigating and as a result, Rogers was free to wander around and do whatever he wanted.

As the book moved into the second section directly related to Rogers' supposed ties to Simpson, there were simply too many pieces of the puzzle trying to be jammed into a mold they did not belong to. Lots of speculation, and things that just not make sense. There's also a way to speculate without being condescending, and then there's a way to speculate and come across as believing this is all so obvious that anyone who does not agree is an idiot. That is rather off-putting and contributes just as much to my disbelief as anything else.

At this point I should state that I firmly believe that OJ Simpson murdered Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. I was willing to hear the theory out and see what kind of connections the authors came up with. Their research was absolutely meticulous when it came to the events in Rogers' life before he supposedly came to know Simpson. But once THAT story started unfolding, it bordered on insanity. As I was reading the book, my memory was jogged into recalling that there was talk of an accomplice, but I was 11 in 1994 and despite reading much material on the subject since then, I did not recall ever hearing Rogers' name, if it was in fact stated publicly at the time. I remember with perfect clarity the Bronco chase and the utter circus involving this case from start to finish. And is it really ever going to be finished? I think not. Until he admits to what he did, it will never be over. But I digress.

Around 68% the authors state that Glen had "tenuous ties to OJ because web sites and other books by family members asserted that Glen was likely OJ's accomplice". Through the same websites and books the authors claim they learned that Rogers had supposedly "...spent time in a bar or restaurant with Nicole the night before or at some point the week before her death and that there was a picture of the encounter. That photo was said to be in the hands of a family member. Did such a picture exist?" (70%). Yet I do not recall the question ever being answered either way if said photo exists or not. Surely with a brother who seemed keen on fame-by-association would have produced this photo if it existed? There is also discussion about how Rogers bragged to that brother, Clay, that "...he was going to 'take down' a former pro football player and the player's wife. It was going to be a big score and he was going to set up the former player." Clay went on to say Glen had been bragging about it all before it happened. Can we really believe that though? Glen was sixteen years old when he was still in ninth grade and that's as far as he ever made it in school. Literally everything else known about him that's stated in this book shows that is simply not possible. His IQ is what, like a 76? Yet he planted evidence and false evidence and framed OJ? Come on now.

In general, there were also just some really weird phrases that were not nearly as dramatic as they were probably intended to be, and were actually rather silly instead:

"It was all speculation heaped upon maybe..." (70%)

"...and that hearsay was stirred into a pudding that had even more hearsay" (70%)

"How the murders happened is a chimera riding an enigma into a hurricane names What If" (73%)

"Maybe heaped upon Might-have-been and both were on a horse named Could Be..." (90-something%)


The leaps in logic and speculation are also wildly out of control in this second section of the book. They state with the edition of Road Dog, they didn't have proof that Glen was connected to Simpson in any way, whether it be by working as a repairman, or a coke supplier to Nicole or her friend Faye Resnick. As such, this was not explored the first time around. We do get some explanation for some of the pieces the authors connect, but then they also seem, but even so, it is hard to take the connection seriously.

"But did it make sense that a couple worth millions would even bother to know a guy like Glen?..." [Spoiler Alert: NOPE] "...We knew when Road Dog was published that Rogers lived in a few places in Southern California at the same time Nicole and Ron were murdered...We knew that Glen, who worked as an Ohio drug informant, might have taken his trade to Southern California under an assumed name, say, the identity that he stole...We knew that he might have gone to work  for local and other narcotics authorities as a confidential police informant. It all added up or at least was starting to add up. What's more, LA police would have looked the other way if Rogers' involvement with OJ was ever brought to their attention. It made sense that Rogers could have and should have been a suspect in the OJ case" (71%).

This paragraph illustrates the exact problem with the whole second section of the book. Facts that are provable, and then crazy leaps. Would the police really have "looked the other way"? What makes anyone sure that he became an informant, just because he had been one at home? For a guy who committed so many crimes, he sure was fond of working with the police. Sure, it was extra cash but it just doesn't make sense.

The authors do ask a lot of legitimate and interesting questions regarding the evidence, but I don't think there is any great mystery to most of them. They ask about the hat found at the crime scene and wonder if it was "one of Rogers' crime scene manipulations" (73%), also wondering who the hat belonged to and what property it came from. Then the carton of ice cream on the stair railing, which they offer possible explanation of Glen taking it from the garbage, or something he bought, or that it meant nothing. Doesn't it make a lot more sense that Nicole was eating the ice cream? Or is there some evidence I don't know about that proves it was not Nicole's ice cream? In this same slew of questions they touch on the knife left on the kitchen counter and put forth the idea it was Glen's "calling card" (73%). Would Nicole even recognize it as such, would she have known Glen Rogers that well? How can it be a calling card when literally no one really knew he was even a killer at that point? Other possibilities they bring up include the fact that perhaps Glen left it as a warning for Nicole to show he had been inside the home while they'd all been out at the dance recital earlier, or that Nicole laid out the knife because OJ had arrived and she feared for her life. Doesn't it make sense that the most logical explanations are the ones we should go with here? Nicole was eating ice cream, she heard Ron at the door to bring the sunglasses, or OJ was there to start a fight over what happened at the recital. This random drug dealer/hooker/killer/repairman is not the likely answer here and when you lay everything out, he makes the least amount of sense.

There is one thing I agree with the authors on, however, and that is that the police did not manipulate any evidence. I'm pretty sure that everything left behind at the scene was inadvertent and that a panicked OJ had done it after he had murdered Nicole and Ron in a fit of rage. Yet the difference between what I think happened and what the authors propose is that the drops of blood in and around the Bronco were planted by Glen, as were the bloody socks found on the floor in the middle of OJ's bedroom. They claim the socks were "too contrived" and that "The sock hat left at the crime scene" and "The glove behind a guest house" smelled like "badly planted clues" (75%). They're even so bold as to say that their reasoning is the only way the whole horrible event made sense, and it was not a matter of no evidence being planted, but instead ALL the evidence had been planted. Again, are we going to believe that Rogers was really smart enough to do this? At times it seems like the authors can't decide either if he was clever enough or not. They refer to a documentary on Rogers and in one breath say "Rogers often left false clues on his crime scenes" (76%) and indicate that OJ's hands were not cut by broken glass but that the cut came from Glen and his knife, who needed to have OJ's blood at the scene to frame him. Yet 4% later they're telling us that "The story Glen told Detective McIntosh isn't wholly fabricated. Glen is not clever enough for that" (80%). So which is it? Because this comes up again. Glen is not clever enough to make up a story for a detective, but he is clever enough to 'accidentally' cut OJ's hand to get his blood at the scene?

Much of the evidence also depends on the idea that Rogers was present at one time or another, or even several times, doing either repairs or working as a painter at either the home on Bundy or at Rockingham. They maintain that this means Rogers would have had access to items belonging to OJ, including the gloves and hat. Not only is Rogers back to being clever, but forward thinking, because he supposedly stole these things to use in the crime later. So, if OJ hired Rogers to steal the jewels back from Nicole (we'll get to that whole tangled mess in a minute), how long in advance was this planned? But again, where is the proof that Rogers ever set foot on either property? The documentary continues to be brought up suggesting "that Glen not only left false leads at most of his crime scenes, but he did it for many years. Clay taught him that strategy, or the knowledge came from his time in prison as a youth" (81%).

While there is a lot of assumption about whether or not Glen was ever even in California, the authors do provide one piece of evidence that proves he was possibly there at least, though it does not prove he lived there or for how long. When the murder of Linda Price, Rogers' victim in Jackson, Mississippi, was investigated, an interesting find was discovered. A purse was found at the scene that contained a few interesting items, namely a disposable camera and prescription bottle of codeine. The prescription belonged to Rogers' one-time girlfriend Maria Gyore and had been filled at a pharmacy less than ten miles away from Nicole's home. The film was also developed and found to contain pictures of Rogers and Price with his arm around her, wearing the watch which was found at a different murder scene connected to Rogers. Even so, because his girlfriend had filled a prescription at a pharmacy near the scene of Nicole's violent death, OBVIOUSLY Rogers murdered her and Goldman.

There are some interesting clues found at another one of Rogers' crime scenes that provides some easy-to-manipulate information. And the reason it is easy to twist the information around is because it appears it will not be tested any time soon. At the scene where Andy Sutton was murdered, a pair of pants was found that contained a knife. The knife used to kill Sutton had been taken from his own kitchen and then put back after it was used. The authors suggest it could have been the knife used to kill Nicole and Ron. There is certainly an easy way to determine whether or not that is true - for it to be tested for a DNA match. So why has this not been done, if this theory makes so much sense? They also maintain that a pair of bloody shoes found in Rogers' possession at the time of his arrest could have been a souvenir from the murder he had committed and framed OJ for. Like the knife, the shoes should be tested for DNA to prove or disprove this theory. But perhaps convincing the authorities to do so might be a bit of a challenge. The authors have contacted a clerk who works in the evidence room and stated that while the shoes are still there, a detective would have to request the test. So...can't this idea be presented to a detective to see if he or she would be willing to order the test? I am not sure how any of this works and my knowledge is limited only to whatever procedures I witnessed on Law and Order: SVU, so...

In addition to the claim that Glen Rogers was the murderer that long ago night on Bundy Drive, they also maintain that it was actually a burglary attempt. Much attention is paid to Nicole and OJ's relationship and the jewelry he had showered her with over the years. There are a lot of claims made about Glen as well, and how he would have supposedly known so much about jewelry. But where is the evidence that this was true? This is what we are offered:

"Glen would have known more than a little about jewelry. He had lived for years in Southern California, and on any given Saturday night he would see the glittering diamond rings and necklaces worn by the men and women of Santa Monica and Brentwood, Hollywood and Beverly Hills in those California dance clubs and bars. How could he miss those gems?" (86%)

Okay, so he saw a lot of jewelry when he may or may not have lived in SoCal, but does this really prove anything? They go on to state he knew that OJ and those of his social standing would buy expensive jewelry for their significant others, and that this jewelry was expected to be worn and "flaunted" and that "Glen wanted it for himself" (86%). But again, where is the proof? It's not as though he was cracking safes and stealing all the shiny baubles he found inside. It is asserted that because Glen was a career thief, he would have been the one to receive a call from OJ asking him to steal back the jewelry that he had given Nicole in happier times. Even so, there is still no actual proof that they ever knew each other. They certainly would not have been in the same social circles, even if they did know each other. And without the picture that it is claimed exists of Nicole and Glen, there is no way to know if they ever crossed paths even if it is shown unequivocally that Glen lived in California for any amount of time. Much is also made of the idea that not having her jewelry would have been the ultimate insult to Nicole, and would have signaled her fall from the pedestal where she lived during her time married to OJ. We are to believe that jewels and gems were OJ's way of branding of the women in his life and that he wanted them back, so that he could show Nicole without a doubt that he was always the one in control. And we are also to believe that this was a burglary from OJ's point of view, but that Glen Rogers was clever enough to spot the opportunity that he could keep the jewels for himself by planning this complex way to frame OJ for murder. The authors claim that OJ would not have wanted to bother with murder when his life was so good, that his life was so perfect without her, he would not throw it all away. The problem with that theory is that Nicole was the one who had already humiliated OJ by pushing him away for good. OJ was all about control and Nicole was wrecking that. He went over to the house that night in a rage and whether or not he intended to kill her, that is what happened. Not only that, but let's not forget the dozens of head shots and concussions he had sustained over the years - he's crazy. That control over her was slipping away and OJ could not handle it.

Just a few words later we are tossed this little bit of a theory and I am far more willing to buy this than the murders being a nefarious plan of a guy who didn't make it beyond 9th grade:

"Or maybe he wanted her murdered after all, found a guy willing to do it and OJ needed to see the look on Nicole's face when her life ended there on Bundy" (89%).

Yes, that is a theory I could get behind if I did not believe that OJ had committed the murders himself, that he would have hired someone to do the job for him. But then right away we are back to the idea that Rogers was the one truly in control.

"The crime scene was handily manipulated by a career criminal so no evidence would be left for the cops except the evidence that he had chosen to be left on the scene: a stolen knit cap that had hair still in it, a glove that held no OJ fingerprints, show prints from OJ that went from dying victim to dying victim and the out the back gate. Thanks to Glen, all the canards and apparent evidence would point in only one direction: an estranged husband who single-handedly and in a fit of rage would commit a double homicide. That mistaken but widespread belief, more trust than anything else, that only one killer was in the condo court yard will haunt this crime scene forever. It is not preposterous to consider that these murders were done by a thief-for-hire who in turn 'helped' OJ clean up and get back to Rockingham in time for his flight to Chicago. OJ did not do the killing but he is to blame" (90%).

But that's the IS kind of preposterous. This theory rests on a lot of things that simply can not be proven. Is there anything else that ties Glen Rogers to California beside the prescription bottle that belonged to Gyore?

There are details then concerning the use of watches at Glen's crime scenes and how he used them to mark his kills. The authors refer to Nicole's broken watch face as yet another clue that Glen left behind, and how it was all a game to him. "The watch was Glen's calling card - his mark" (94%). But I thought the knife was his calling card? And I thought he wasn't clever? Or is he? We are told that Rogers "...used watches as obtuse clues to his identity and to simply mark the time and date of his kills" (94%). The authors also maintain that OJ was in shock when he discovered Glen's handiwork, and that is why he did not notice as Rogers planted all these subtle little clues that would eventually point to OJ himself.

So, I know I have gone on and on and on, but there really are some major issues with the second section of this book. It all just speculation. This book can not be labeled anything more than a conspiracy theory, and I can not take it seriously. The authors only insist that the crime scene makes scene when you "Put jewel thief and killer Rogers on the scene and everything adds up: the mysteriously unblemished face of OJ despite having supposedly fought a martial arts expert in hand-to-hand combat, the stolen ski mask that was intentionally (not inadvertently) left at the crime scene, the gloves that did not fit (and did not have a knife cut on them nor OJ's blood or fingerprints), how the pattern of the wounds matched other crimes by Rogers, particularly the slashed throat of Nicole, the bloody heel print on the back of Nicole's garment, the Bronco seen by a witness careening through the Bundy intersection that held two occupants (Glen and OJ) and not just one, the bloody trail across the driveway at Rockingham, the bloody glove left behind at Rockingham, the call from OJ made from an LAX pay phone only a minute before he had to leave for Chicago to Kaelin to have him reset the Rockingham burglary alarm in the hope that Kaelin would run into Rogers, who may not have yet left the house. It all adds up. For the first time there is a believable explanation for the trail of blood that OJ left on the patio. He was stabbed in the hand by Glen. For the first time there is a plausible motive for OJ to be at the scene. Just like in 1989, he wanted his jewelry back..." (99%).

I guess all that is really left to say is that you can decide for yourself whether anything in this is plausible. Rogers is referred to as both clever and not, that he manipulated the crime scene, but clumsily left evidence. So which is it?

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