Dayton Leroy Rogers

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Dayton Leroy Rogers
Dayton Leroy Rogers.png
Inmate Mugshot
Born (1953-09-30) September 30, 1953 (age 64)
Moscow, Idaho, U.S.
Other names The Molalla Forest Killer
Criminal penalty Death
Victims 7-8+
Span of crimes
Country United States
State(s) Oregon
Date apprehended

Dayton Leroy Rogers (born September 30, 1953) is a serial killer currently on Oregon's death row at the Oregon State Penitentiary for six murders.

He has been tied to the murders of seven women. He preferred "street" women, usually addicts, prostitutes and runaways. The bodies of six of the women were found at a dump site located on privately owned forest lands outside Molalla, Oregon, and thus he was dubbed the "Molalla Forest Murderer".


Rogers was convicted in 1988 for the murder of his last victim, Jennifer Lisa Smith, whom he killed on August 7, 1987,[1][2] and in 1989 for a further six murders[3] for which he was sentenced to death.[4]

Jennifer Lisa Smith was a convicted prostitute and drug addict.[1] She was in Rogers' truck parked in a lot located off of SE McLoughlin Blvd in Oak Grove in unincorporated Clackamas County, when he stabbed her 11 times in the breasts, abdomen and back. She fell out of the truck and was attended by witnesses from a nearby Denny's restaurant and later died at the hospital.[1] One witness stood by a window relaying the action to another patron who could not see the parking lot; that patron called the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

When the victim fell to the ground, several witnesses ran to their cars in an attempt to block Rogers' car in the parking lot. However, he drove over the landscaping and headed south on SE McLoughlin. One witness followed Rogers through Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City and Canby at speeds up to 100 mph.[1] When the suspect's car pulled into a driveway, the following driver took the address, went to a phone and reported the information.

Rogers' modus operandi was to pick up prostitutes and take them to secluded areas. He took at least six of them into the forest where he tied them up and kill them.

He was married and had a child. He was a small engine mechanic by trade and deeply in debt. He was connected to the bodies through his habit of pouring a mini-bottle of vodka into an orange juice bottle to make himself a screwdriver. Rogers was convicted in May 1989 for the murders of 23-year-old Lisa Marie Mock, 26-year-old Maureen Ann Hodges, 35-year-old Christine Lotus Adams, 20-year-old Cynthia Devore, 26-year-old Nondace "Noni" Cervantes and 16-year-old Riatha Gyles. The seventh body was identified in August 2013.[5]

Rogers was sentenced to death three times, and three times the Oregon Supreme Court vacated the sentence of death and remanded the case for a new trial. The first two Supreme Court decisions came in 1992 and 2000.[6] In both instances, a jury again imposed the death penalty. On October 11, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court vacated his latest death sentence, and remanded the case for a new trial on the appropriate penalty.[7]

On November 16, 2015, a Clackamas county jury sentenced Rogers to death for the fourth time. In exchange for a true life sentence instead of the death penalty, Rogers would have waived all future appeals and allocuted to his crimes.

In popular culture[edit]

The Portland-based band Poison Idea's song, "Feel the Darkness", is based on the story of Dayton Leroy Rogers and one of his victims, who was a friend of the band's.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Hallman Jr., Tom (March 29, 2013). "Victim of Oregon serial killer Dayton Leroy Rogers finally laid to rest after 26 years". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  2. ^ Oregon v. Rogers (Oregon Supreme Court August 7, 1987).
  3. ^ "Dayton Leroy Rogers has been in out of court for 40 years". The Oregonian. October 11, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Dayton Leroy Rogers, Oregon's most prolific serial killer, appealing death sentence". The Oregonian. Associated Press. January 13, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ Painter Jr., John (December 31, 1989). "The 1980s". The Oregonian. 
  6. ^ State of Oregon v. Rogers, 313 Or 356, 836 P2d 1308 (1992), cert den 507 US 974 (1993)
    - State of Oregon v. Rogers, 330 Or 282, 4 P3d 1261 (2000)
  7. ^ State of Oregon v. Rogers, __ Or __ (2012)

Further reading[edit]

  • King, Gary C. (1992). Blood Lust: Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer. Onyx. ISBN 0-451-40352-5. 

External links[edit]