Ex-Kern deputy convicted of 2 murders scheduled for trial in October

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A former Kern County sheriff’s deputy who committed two murders in the 1980s has a trial date in October where prosecutors will again seek the death penalty.

Judge John W. Lua on Friday set Oct. 18 for the retrial of the penalty phase against David Keith Rogers, 74, who has spent decades housed at San Quentin State Prison.

Rogers was convicted and sentenced to death in 1988 in the slayings of Janine Benintende, 20, and Tracie Clark, 15. He shot and killed Benintende in early 1986 and Clark a year later.

In 2019, the state Supreme Court overturned Rogers’ death sentence after finding a prosecution witness falsely testified Rogers had sexually assaulted her. The prosecution used the woman’s testimony during its closing argument in the penalty phase.

Rogers’ murder convictions stand. He’ll serve life without parole if prosecutors don’t secure the death penalty a second time.

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