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Rogers Pleads Not Guilty in Kentucky : Courts: Charges stem from high-speed chase with police. California hopes to extradite the alleged serial killer.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Alleged serial killer Glen Rogers pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three Kentucky felony charges stemming from a high-speed chase with state police, as Kentucky authorities awaited extradition requests from California and three other states that want to try him on murder charges.

Extradition requests are also expected from Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi for Rogers, accused of a cross-country slaying rampage that allegedly began with the death of Sandra Gallagher of Santa Monica after Rogers met her in a Van Nuys bar on Sept. 29.

Clad in a green jail jumpsuit and manacled hand and foot, Rogers answered calmly but tersely when Circuit Court Judge William T. Jennings asked how he pleaded to two charges of first-degree wanton endangerment and one charge of criminal mischief.

The judge scheduled a jury trial on the car-chase charges for Feb. 5. Each of the three charges carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.

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As he was leaving the courtroom, Rogers gave a clenched-fist salute to a woman identified as Lyn Clontz, a niece who was watching the proceeding.

The extradition requests are being awaited by the office of Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones. A spokesman for Jones said earlier that the governor would probably send Rogers to the state with the strongest case against him in “a cooperative effort to decide where he should go first.”

Roger’s court-appointed attorney, public defender Ernie Lewis, said outside the courtroom Tuesday that Rogers would not resist extradition “if a state wants him that doesn’t have a death penalty,” but all four states where charges are now being filed have capital punishment.

Lewis also complained Tuesday that Ohio authorities had interrogated Rogers at the Madison County Detention Center outside his presence Monday, even after Lewis told the officers by telephone that his client did not want to answer questions.

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Lewis said he wanted to assert in court that Rogers does not wish to talk to police.

“I think it is shabby and unprofessional,” Lewis said outside the courtroom. “I cannot imagine a judge not throwing it out because it was made clearly after the invocation of the right to counsel.”

The officers, investigators for the Clermont County Sheriff’s Department near Cincinnati, were questioning Rogers on the killing three years ago of Kirrey Gaskins, a woman in her 30s, according to a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

Rogers also had been sought nearly two years for questioning in the 1993 death of his elderly housemate, Mark Peters, in Roger’s hometown of Hamilton, Ohio. Peters’ decomposed body was found in January, 1994, in a shack owned by Rogers’ family near Beattyville, Ky.

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After his arrest last week, police in several states began looking into possible links to a host of other killings.

Rogers appeared to link himself to many unsolved slayings when he laughingly told two Kentucky State Police detectives after his arrest that he may have killed 70 people, which his attorney Lewis said Tuesday was meant as a joke.

“I advised him that we were looking at him concerning the murder of five people, and we had five bodies,” Kentucky State Police Officer Robert G. Stephens wrote in an affidavit seeking a search warrant. Rogers replied “that it’s more like 70 bodies and laughed as he said this,” the affidavit stated.

Lewis complained that the joking reference “was turned the next morning in the paper into saying that Glen Rogers says he killed 70, which is absolutely erroneous. It’s really pretty ludicrous.” Lewis also said he was “very angry about the role of the media in trying to get Mr. Rogers to talk after he and I both agreed he would not do so.”

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Last week, Rogers gave a telephone interview to a Cincinnati television station by phone from jail, bragging that he had walked past FBI agents who were looking for him in a Jackson, Miss., hotel.


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