William Rogers was sentenced to death by the State of Tennessee for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a nine year old girl. According to court documents William Rogers would kidnap the nine year old girl, Jackie Beard, and she would be sexually assaulted and murdered. Hunters would find her body four months later. William Rogers would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
William Rogers 2021 Information
William Rogers More News
At the guilt phase of the trial, the State presented proof that on July 3, 1996, nine-year-old Jacqueline (“Jackie”) Beard was playing with her twelve-year-old brother, Jeremy Beard, and her eleven-year-old cousin, Michael Carl Webber, at a mud puddle near her home in the Cumberland Heights area of Clarksville in Montgomery County. The defendant, thirty-four-year-old William Glenn Rogers, approached the children and introduced himself as “Tommy Robertson.” He said he was an undercover police officer, offered the children fireworks, and invited them to go swimming. Jackie went home and told her mother, Jeannie Meyer, about the man. Mrs. Meyer took Jackie back to the mud puddle to investigate. While the children played with the fireworks, Mrs. Meyer talked with Rogers, who continued to identify himself as undercover officer Tommy Robertson. After approximately thirty-five minutes, Rogers left in his car.
At around 1:30 p.m. on July 8, 1996, Rogers appeared at the Meyer residence asking about a lost key. Jackie was with her mother when Mrs. Meyer spoke with Rogers. Rogers was last seen walking down the road toward a nearby abandoned trailer. A few minutes later, Mrs. Meyer gave Jackie permission to pick blackberries to take to the doctor’s office where Mrs. Meyer had an appointment that afternoon. Jackie changed her shorts immediately before leaving the house. At 1:55 p.m., Mrs. Meyer was ready to leave and called for Jackie but could not find her. At around 2:00 p.m., a neighbor, Mike Smith, saw a car matching the description of Rogers’ car leaving the immediate area. Smith had seen the same car heading in the direction of the Meyer residence about an hour or two earlier. Mrs. Meyer searched the area by car and on foot to no avail. Jackie was never seen alive again.
Mrs. Meyer reported her daughter’s disappearance to the authorities. A composite drawing of the suspect was published in the Clarksville newspaper. Several people reported to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department that the person in the drawing resembled Rogers.
On July 11, 1996, law enforcement officers questioned Rogers, who at first denied being in the Cumberland Heights area. In his next interview, however, Rogers told the officers that he had been in the area on July 3, 1996, shooting fireworks with three boys. He later acknowledged that Jackie was one of the three children. Rogers admitted speaking with Mrs. Meyer about his lost key on July 8, 1996, but denied seeing Jackie that day. He said he walked to the abandoned trailer, went to the bathroom there, and then left in his car to look for a job. As the questioning continued, Rogers changed his story again and acknowledged that Jackie was present during his conversation with her mother on July 8, 1996. Rogers ultimately confessed that, after leaving the abandoned trailer, he accidently ran over Jackie as he backed up his car. Rogers said he heard a thud, discovered the victim under the car, and pulled her out. Her chest was moving as she tried to inhale, and blood was coming out of her nose. Rogers saw tire tracks across her right calf, right shoulder, and neck. He covered the victim’s head with a shirt that he removed from the trunk of the car. Rogers placed the victim in the front passenger seat of the car, drove to a bridge over the Cumberland River, and threw her body, along with a sandal that had fallen from her foot, into the water. He stated that he did not touch her “in any way sexually or abusive.” Rogers reduced this story to writing and signed the statement. Rogers made a diagram depicting how his car had run over the victim. He also signed the back of a photograph of the victim where he had written, “This is the girl I hit.”
The following day, July 12, 1996, when officers asked Rogers about the possibility that the victim’s fingerprints were in the car, Rogers changed his story yet again. In a second written statement, Rogers corrected his earlier statement by adding that the victim had gotten into the passenger side of his car and talked to him for about five minutes before she left saying her mother had to go to the doctor. Later on July 12, 1996, Rogers went with officers and his court-appointed attorney to the sites where he allegedly had run over the victim and thrown her body into the river. Rogers re-enacted the events of July 8, 1996, in a manner consistent with his written statements.
Investigation of the abandoned trailer showed that the victim’s home and yard were visible from a bay window. A search of Rogers’ car revealed a handheld telescope, a can of glass cleaner, and a map opened to the Middle Tennessee region, including the Land Between the Lakes area. A floor mat was on the driver’s side but not the passenger’s side. Although Rogers’ fingerprints were on loose items in the car, officers found no fingerprints on the car’s interior surfaces. Divers searched in the Cumberland River near the bridge where Rogers said he had thrown the victim’s body, but nothing was found.
On November 8, 1996, four months after the victim’s disappearance, two deer hunters discovered the victim’s skull in a remote, wooded area in Land Between the Lakes in Stewart County. DNA analysis of the teeth established that the mitochondrial DNA sequence matched the DNA sample from the victim’s mother. The skeletal remains of the victim were scattered around the area, which was several hundred yards from the Cumberland River and approximately forty-eight miles from her home. Both of the victim’s sandals were found at the scene. The clothing worn by the victim when she disappeared was strewn near the bones. Her shirt had been turned completely inside out, and human semen stains were on the inside crotch of her shorts. A DNA sequence could not be obtained from the semen stains for comparison to the DNA sample provided by Rogers.2 However, fibers consistent with carpet in Rogers’ house were found in his car and on the victim’s shorts.
Dr. Murray K. Marks, a forensic anthropologist, examined the victim’s skeletal remains. He testified that the remains had been in the area from three to ten months. Dr. Marks explained that some of the victim’s bones-the hands, the feet, one entire leg, and the lower part of another leg-were never recovered and probably had been removed from the scene by animals. Dr. Marks could not determine the cause of death but stated that he found no ante-mortem trauma to the bones such as would be expected had a car run over the victim. Likewise, Dr. Robert Lee, the Stewart County Medical Examiner, was unable to determine the cause or manner of the victim’s death.
Rogers’ estranged wife, Juanita Rogers, testified that on July 4, 1996, she and Rogers went to Land Between the Lakes. On the drive back, they stopped at a picnic area off Dover Road about ten to fifteen miles from where the victim’s body was found. After walking in the woods, Rogers remarked to his wife that “you could bury a body back here and nobody would ever find it.” Mrs. Rogers also testified that on July 8, 1996, the day of the victim’s disappearance, she did not see Rogers from before lunch until after 6:00 p.m. When he appeared that evening, his pants were muddy at the knees. The outside of the car also was muddy. Rogers told his wife that he had been in a tobacco field on Dover Road. When she noticed a spot of blood on his shirt, he told her that he had cut his finger, but she did not see a cut. Although she had given Rogers money to put gasoline in the car earlier in the day, the tank was almost empty. Mrs. Rogers also noticed small fingerprints on the inside of the passenger side windshield. The muddy prints went down the windshield. When asked by his wife if a child had been in the car, Rogers said no.
Mrs. Rogers further testified that on July 9, 1996, the day following the victim’s disappearance, she accompanied Rogers to the garbage dump. She thought it was unusual that Rogers took only one bag of trash all the way to the dump. She noticed that the car had been cleaned since the day before, both inside and out, but Rogers denied cleaning it. On July 11, 1996, after the police contacted Rogers, he told his wife he had informed the police that he had been with her the entire afternoon of July 8, 1996. She refused to support his alibi. On the evening of July 11, 1996, after his arrest, Rogers called his wife and told her that he had confessed to vehicular homicide and would be home in a couple of hours.
Rogers made several additional, sometimes contradictory, statements about his involvement in the victim’s death. He called his wife numerous times from jail seeking to speak with her and promising, if she would pick up the telephone, he would tell her what really happened and where the victim could be found. Rogers also wrote his wife a letter stating that the victim’s death had been an accident, had not been planned or thought out, and had “just happened.” Rogers told his mother and half-brother that he had run over the victim and informed his mother that she should not worry because “all they could get him for was vehicular homicide.” Rogers sent the victim’s stepfather a letter, in which he wrote that he did not hurt the victim in any way. Rogers also contacted David Ross, a Clarksville reporter, and denied ever hitting the victim with his car. Rogers told Ross that he had last seen the victim on July 8, 1996, as she walked away from his car toward her house. Rogers said he had told the police what they wanted to hear because he was confused and frightened.
Rogers presented evidence that law enforcement officers had investigated three other suspects in the case: Quinton Donaldson, Tommy Robertson, and Chandler Scott. Rogers also tried to point out discrepancies and contradictions in the State’s evidence and offered proof that he was looking for a job on the day the victim disappeared. Three people testified that Rogers applied for a job at a service station on Riverside Drive in Clarksville around 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. on July 8, 1996. According to the witnesses, he was driving a blue pickup truck and wearing a mechanic’s uniform.
On rebuttal, an investigator with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department testified that Rogers had never mentioned wearing a mechanic’s uniform or applying for a job at a service station on July 8, 1996. Furthermore, there was no evidence that Rogers ever drove a blue pickup truck.
Based upon the above evidence, the jury convicted Rogers of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder in the perpetration of a kidnapping, first degree felony murder in the perpetration of a rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, rape of a child, and two counts of criminal impersonation. The trial court merged the felony murder convictions with the premeditated murder conviction. A sentencing hearing was conducted to determine punishment.