Rogers’ lawyer asks for acquittal

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2007

A hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. today in Kenai Superior Court on a motion for acquittal of Shawn Rogers, the Kenai man convicted of manslaughter in the 2004 shooting death of Brian Black in a Beluga tavern.

Rogers, 33, was originally charged with one count of first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Black, 43, of Beluga, in Fat Albert’s Tavern and Bunkhouse July 26, 2004.

As instructed by Judge Larry Card, who was serving as judge pro-tem in the trial, the jury was allowed to consider second-degree murder and manslaughter as lesser offenses included in the charge of first-degree murder.

After nearly four days of deliberations in March, the jury could not find beyond reasonable doubt that Rogers was guilty of first-degree murder, but did find him guilty of manslaughter.

Defense attorney Chuck Robinson said at the time, “ ... The manslaughter verdict would have been not guilty without the instructions on the special findings. If (the jury) wouldn’t have had that, Shawn would be a free man.”

Robinson said Wednesday that the special instruction to the jury left them confused, that they were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Rogers actually pulled the trigger.

During the trial, the defense argued that Rogers’ gun, which he brought into the bar, went off while other patrons struggled to get it away from him.

“Our first position is to ask for a judgment of acquittal,” Robinson said.

He said Judge Card also could order a new trial for Rogers on the charge of manslaughter.

“He’s got to straighten this out,” said Robinson.

Another possibility would be that the state court of appeals could overturn the manslaughter conviction.

Because of the class A felony conviction, Rogers has remained in jail since March 13.

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