BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A second retrial is now scheduled for May to determine whether a former Kern County sheriff’s deputy, convicted 35 years ago of killing two prostitutes, receives a sentence of death or life without parole.
After speaking with attorneys, Judge John W. Lua on Monday set a trial date of May 20 for 76-year-old David Keith Rogers.
The first retrial, held earlier this year, ended with a jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of Rogers being sentenced to death.
Tanya Richard, Rogers’ attorney for the first retrial, has since been appointed a Superior Court judge, and the case assigned to Chief Deputy Public Defender Teryl Wakeman. Noting the “voluminous amount of discovery” to be reviewed, Wakeman asked a trial date be set early next year.
Prosecutor Eric Smith informed the court he won’t be available in April, and both sides agreed to the May date.
In 1988, Rogers was convicted of killing Janine Benintende, 20, in 1986 and Tracie Clark, 15, a year later, shooting them multiple times then dumping their bodies in the Arvin-Edison canal. Clark was three months pregnant when killed.
He was sentenced to death.
The state Supreme Court in 2019 overturned Rogers’ death sentence after determining a prosecution witness whose testimony was used during the penalty phase falsely testified he sexually assaulted her. His murder convictions remain intact.