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Rogers awaits verdict

Jury deliberating on murder charge

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Jury deliberations in the Shawn Rogers murder trial continued for a third day Monday.

Rogers is the 33-year-old Kenai man charged with the shooting death of Brian Black, 43, of Beluga, in Fat Albert’s Tavern and Bunkhouse in Beluga, July 26, 2004.

Following closing arguments by assistant district attorney Scot Leaders and defense attorney Chuck Robinson on Friday, the jury of nine women and three men began deliberating a verdict. Rogers is charged with one count of first-degree murder.

Judge Larry Card, serving as judge pro-tem, told jurors they may find the defendant guilty of the lesser offense of second-degree murder or man-slaughter.

The jury deliberated late into the evening Friday, returned to deliberate all day Saturday and reported to the Kenai courthouse to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Monday.

During closing arguments, Leaders said that just before closing time in July 2004, Rogers exchanged words with Black, pointed a gun at him, and as Black approached him, Rogers fired twice.

One bullet fatally entered Black’s left side, shattering a rib and puncturing a lung and his aorta before lodging in his lower spine. A second bullet was reportedly found lying on the floor of the tavern, but no information about who found it or exactly where it was found was discovered by investigators.

The defense argued that three patrons of the tavern rushed Rogers as he sat at the bar trying to holster his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

He had left the loaded gun behind the bar for safekeeping and retrieved it as he was about to leave the bar at closing time. Rogers, who had been drinking, testified that the gun kept getting tangled up in the drawstring of his jacket, preventing him from holstering it.

When Rogers was jumped, the defense argued, the gun went off accidentally, killing Black.

Throughout the five-week trial, the defense criticized the Alaska State Trooper investigation of the crime scene and at one point, the judge admonished the state for repeated discovery violations — disclosing information to the defense after the trial was already under way.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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