Lies and Semen in Kervin Rogers's Doomed Appeal of Triple Murder
Kervin Rogers. Interactive graphics and more below.
Denver District Attorney's Office
Wilson wanted his murder conviction overturned because he felt prosecutors hadn't proven that he'd sexually assaulted Gruenwald; he said she'd lowered her pants to urinate rather than him doing so in order to attack her.
Rogers made a number of claims about why the guilty verdict should be tossed. But perhaps the most unusual pertained to his contention that police interviews in which he participated should have been disallowed because the police officers seen questioning him in videos admitted into evidence openly doubted that he was telling the truth — about, among other things, how his semen got into the mouth of a homicide victim.
The appeals-court judgement, shared below, notes that "during a four-week period in 2009, the bodies of three murder victims were found in different alleys within a three-mile radius in Denver. Each victim had been shot twice in the head, and 9 mm shell casings were recovered from each crime scene."
As it turns out, we covered each of these killings.
The first victim was Allisen Falk-Compton, whose body was found on December 13, 2009, by some railroad tracks on the 5000 block of Fillmore. The area is captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."
Two days later, Rogers was arrested for the crime.
Behind the scenes, meanwhile, investigators linked Rogers to two other previously unsolved murders.
One involved the killing of Robert Clarke.
He was slain on November 18, 2009, at 3356 Blake Street.
Here's an interactive graphic from that block.
Then there was the murder of Cheriece Knox.
Knox's body was found on November 19, the day after Clarke's remains were discovered.
The location: a dumpster between the 4300 blocks of York and Josephine.
A graphic from that area can be seen here.
Jurors considered the evidence regarding the three murders in a single trial — something to which Rogers also objected. Along the way, prosecutors espoused the theory that Rogers was a drug dealer and that the victims, who sold crack cocaine on his behalf, were killed because they owed him money.
Evidence cited in the appeals-court ruling included Rogers's DNA, which matched sperm found in Knox's mouth after her death, as well as witness testimony about Rogers assaulting and yelling at Falk-Compton the night she died, and surveillance footage related to Clarke's death that showed a car similar to one that Rogers sometimes drove.
In the end, Rogers was found guilty of three first-degree-murder counts; deliberation lasted just two hours. He was sentenced to three consecutive sentences of life without parole.
However, Rogers appealed, maintaining in part that "the trial court erred...by admitting video recordings of his interviews with police in which the officers opined about Rogers’ credibility."
An example from the document dealt with what are characterized as "Rogers's repeated assertions that he did not know why his semen was in [Falk-Compton's] mouth. The detective said that 'science doesn't lie' and 'there is only one way [your] semen could have ended up in her mouth.' So for you to say 'I don't know how' or 'I don't know why,' it's not a legitimate answer, it's not the truth."
How did the appeals court handle that one? By drawing a link to rules allowing police officers to testify as to their views about claims made by the accused while on the stand.
"If in-court testimony by police officers regarding their belief that a witness was not truthful during an interview is not improper if offered to provide context for the detectives’ interrogation tactics and investigative decisions," the ruling states, "it necessarily follows that similar statements by police officers made during the interrogation itself are admissible for the same purpose."
The other arguments also failed to convince the court, which upheld Rogers's convictions.
To check out all of Rogers's claims, and why the court rejected them, read the aforementioned opinion below a larger version of his booking photo.
Denver District Attorney's Office
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.