Articles, Blog

Forensic Files – Season 10, Episode 14: A Leg Up On Crime


[music playing] NARRATOR: One man’s
fascination with ladies of the evening
terrorized a community. Had it not been for his
arrogance, an old running shoe, and an unusual
bullet fragment, he might never have been caught. [theme music] Farming is big business in
Bakersfield, California. The area boasts warm
weather, flat terrain, and a sophisticated canal
system for irrigation. In 1986, some hikers
found evidence of a crime in one of those canals. It was the decomposed
body of a young woman. MIKE LAGE: I thought it was
possible that the body had been dumped into the
canal further up, and it had floated down to the
place where it was discovered. NARRATOR: The body had been
in the water for several days, and any trace evidence
had been washed away. JOHN SOLIZ: No physical
evidence other than the clothing that she was wearing when
the body was retrieved. NARRATOR: An autopsy
left no doubt. She had been murdered. ARMAND DOLLINGER,
M.D.: There were multiple gunshot wounds
that were discovered. One, the bullet was
recovered from the spine, from the spinal canal. And the other one,
the bullet was recovered from the chest wall. NARRATOR: The bullets were
from a .38 caliber pistol. MIKE LAGE: And
these two bullets we recovered, but
there was one hole. So both of those bullets
entered through the same hole. And that would lead me
to believe that it was a type of an assassination
going on here. NARRATOR: Decomposition
made visual identification impossible, so the
medical examiner relied on her fingerprints. ARMAND DOLLINGER, M.D.: You
can use the dusting powder, like they use for picking
up latent fingerprints, and the prints can be
developed that way. NARRATOR: Her fingerprints were
compared to thousands on file in the California
State database, and there was a match. The victim was
21-year-old Kay Bradley, who had an earlier
arrest for prostitution. A background check revealed she
had grown up in Los Angeles, was an A student in school,
an accomplished horseback rider and dancer. Her aunt, who asked
not to be identified, said Kay was
destined for success. KAY BRADLEY’S AUNT: She was
very artistic and loved to sing, loved to dance as a child,
and never misbehaved. I don’t think she was
ever grounded or punished. She was always very
close to her family. NARRATOR: In the years
after high school, Kay made some
unfortunate choices. MIKE LAGE: A young
girl that had become involved with the wrong
crowd, with drugs, and which led to her being
involved with certain people that were not really what I
would say the type of people I would want my daughter
to hang out with. KAY BRADLEY’S AUNT:
The whole family was devastated, because you try
to figure out how this could happen, or why this happened,
or if someone was responsible. NARRATOR: Prostitution
may have been how Kay financed her drug habit. Unfortunately, none of the
other Bakersfield prostitutes recalled seeing her around
the time she disappeared. After several months and
hundreds of interviews, the trail of Kay’s
killer turned cold, but investigators
didn’t give up. Eventually, they got a break,
but it came with a price, when the body of a second
young woman was found in the very same canal. GREG LASKOWSKI:
And at that point, you start thinking maybe
it’s a serial killer. Maybe there’s something in
the calendar or something or the moon that causes
a person to– to do this. NARRATOR: One year after
the murder of Kay Bradley, the body of a second
young woman was discovered in the same irrigation
canal on the outskirts of Bakersfield, California. She appeared to be a
teenager, but there was no identification
on the body. MIKE LAGE: It was a, “who
done it?” “Who is it?” Which is one of the hardest
ones in homicide to work. NARRATOR: The autopsy revealed
the girl was killed by three shots from a .38 caliber weapon. ARMAND DOLLINGER, M.D.:
She received several wounds from the right
front and was down. And while she was
down, the final shot would have been the
one in the back. -On the cement
curbing of the canal, we noticed that
there was more blood. And so in reading
the crime scene, we know that the vehicle pulled
off, parked on the shoulder, that there was some activity. The victim was hurt. The victim was bleeding. We’re assuming that it
was the victim’s blood. And somebody, in the end,
dragged the victim over to the canal and pushed her in. NARRATOR: Police found three
different shoe impressions in the soft dirt near the canal. They were identified as
Adidas brand running shoes. Forensic expert Greg
Laskowski analyzed the bullets from the victim’s
body, specifically, for lands and
grooves created when the bullet passes
through the barrel. These are unique to every gun. He compared them to the bullets
recovered from Kay Bradley. They lined up perfectly. GREG LASKOWSKI: The bullets
from the first homicide victim and the bullets from the
second homicide victim had the same class
characteristics. That is, they had the same
caliber, same make, and type. They also had rifling
characteristics on the them that were identical. NARRATOR: The murder weapon
was a Colt .38 caliber handgun. -I’m very familiar with those
because I own one myself. NARRATOR: The ammunition
was unusual too. GREG LASKOWSKI: They were
a lighter weight caliber than normal .38
calibers at the time. There were 110-grain,
semi-jacketed, hollow points, which are typical of law
enforcement ammunition. -It did occur to me
at that time, again, we’re possibly looking for
someone in law enforcement, security work, a prison
guard, that type of thing. Because the perpetrator hadn’t
disposed of that weapon. They kept it. NARRATOR: The first task
facing investigators was to identify the young girl. Her description
didn’t match anyone listed in missing
persons reports. And her fingerprints
didn’t match any on file with the California
State database. Since there was a condom
wrapper near the victim’s body, and because of the
way she was dressed, investigators suspected she
was working as a prostitute. JOHN SOLIZ: We started
showing this Polaroid photograph of our victim’s face. And on that first night
that we were out there, we actually, by luck,
found this prostitute who recognized the photograph. PROSTITUTE: I think
she was here– And she said that she
recalled seeing the victim. NARRATOR: She was identified
as 15-year-old Tracy Clark, a runaway from
Seattle, Washington. Tracy’s friend, a
fellow prostitute, last saw her leaving
with a customer driving an unusual vehicle. MIKE LAGE: She seen Tracy
Clark get into this vehicle, and that was the last
time she was seen alive. She described this vehicle as
a light-colored pickup truck with a camper shell with
bubble windows on the side. NARRATOR: But there
were thousands of similar trucks in California. But the murder weapon, the
type used by law enforcement, was a definite clue. On a hunch, Bakersfield
Police looked inside their own
community and discovered one of their colleagues
owned a pickup truck matching that description. It belonged to Sheriff’s
Deputy Dave Rogers. Ironically, Rogers was Detective
Soliz’s former partner. JOHN SOLIZ: We
worked side by side for, I don’t know, I’m
guessing, you know, two or three years
on the same beat. He would back me up on calls,
and I would back him up. We would have coffee together. NARRATOR: Deputy Rogers, an
11-year veteran of the force, was well liked and
highly respected. To see if Rogers’ truck was
the one Tracy got in to, investigators tried
an unusual experiment. MIKE LAGE: I went and
picked up the witness. And I told her, I’m going
to take you for a drive, and I want you to see if
you recognize any vehicles. NARRATOR: Investigator
Lage showed her a number of similar-looking
vehicles in Bakersfield. But the one she
identified was the one parked outside
Deputy Rogers’ house. MIKE LAGE: She immediately
started hollering, that’s the truck,
that’s the truck. Go arrest him. Go arrest him. And I says, are you sure? And she said, I’m positive. NARRATOR: When
questioned, Rogers denied any involvement
in the murders. His service revolver, a
Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, was clearly not
the murder weapon, and there was no
record Rogers ever owned a Colt .38
caliber handgun. Both investigators
and prosecutors needed much more than
just their suspicions that Rogers was
somehow involved. SARA RYALS: My job is to present
enough evidence to satisfy the standard of beyond
a reasonable doubt. There’s a jury instruction
on what reasonable doubt is. And it’s not just any doubt,
but it’s not beyond any doubt. It’s just a reasonable doubt. That is, it really couldn’t
be anybody else but this man. NARRATOR: Bakersfield detectives
had two unsolved murders, a suspect who was a
member of law enforcement, but little else. So investigators went
back to the witness who saw the second
victim, Tracy Clark, getting into a
light-colored truck and asked her if she
could identify the driver. They showed her a
photographic lineup consisting of six individuals. MIKE LAGE: I advised the witness
that I was going to show her a series of photographs that
she may or may not recognize. Don’t be afraid to say that
you don’t recognize anybody. You don’t have to. NARRATOR: It didn’t take long. MIKE LAGE: She said that’s
the guy that drove that pickup truck that I seen Tracy
get into the last time she was seen alive. And she pointed to Rogers. It was Rogers. JOHN SOLIZ: At that point,
I didn’t quite soak in. Like, you know, I can’t
believe that we’re looking at a deputy on the
murder of two prostitutes. NARRATOR: Deputy Dave
Rogers once again denied any involvement
in the murders. Since these were his
colleagues, Rogers may have felt more comfortable
during his interrogation than others would, and he did
something consistent with that. He put his foot up on the desk. And Detective Mike Lage
remembered something. -And I looked down
and looked over, and there was the shoe tracks,
the shoe that resembled the shoe tracks that was
taken at Tracy Clark’s scene. NARRATOR: Was it possible that
Rogers, an experienced law enforcement officer, would
wear the same shoes to a murder interrogation he wore
to commit the crime? Detectives sent Rogers’ shoes
to forensic analyst Greg Laskowski. GREG LASKOWSKI: There was the
center logo, which identified the shoe as being Adidas, and
the overall size of the shoe was consistent. But there was a chunk
out in the tread pattern. NARRATOR: Laskowski pressed the
tread pattern of Rogers’ shoe into a mixture of
fingerprint powder, Comet cleanser,
and very fine clay. And sure enough, Laskowski
saw the same tread patterns and same nicks and indentations
in Rogers’ shoe impression that he saw in the impressions
found at the crime scene. GREG LASKOWSKI: I was astounded
to be able to identify David Roger’s shoe as having
been at the crime scene. NARRATOR: But to prosecutor
Sara Ryals, it wasn’t enough. SARA RYALS: I mean, you can put
the three scoops of ice cream, and then that’s fine, but
it’s not a banana split. But you’ve got to
add the bananas. You’ve got to add the
whipped cream and the cherry. The whipped cream and
the cherry are the fluff. They’re what makes it look good. The bananas are
what makes the case. NARRATOR: In the back
of Rogers’ truck, police found dozens of
pairs of women’s underwear, nude pictures of
prostitutes, and a .38 caliber Colt revolver. GREG LASKOWSKI: That
was just unbelievable. It– you couldn’t put words what
one was thinking at that point. It’s– it’s as if, is
this really all true? Is this a coincidence? NARRATOR: To see if it
was the murder weapon, it was fired into a water-filled
tank to stop the bullet. GREG LASKOWSKI: It
slows down the bullet. And relatively quickly, within
a matter of 1 to 2 feet, the bullet falls
harmlessly to the bottom of the tank where
it can be collected. NARRATOR: A comparison of
that bullet and those found at both crime
scenes left no doubt that this gun was
used in both murders. Now, Sara Ryals was satisfied. SARA RYALS: You know, it
was all so clear then. Once we had all that laid out. I mean, there was
nothing else it could be. And it was extremely important. NARRATOR: And from
the serial number, investigators
discovered the gun was registered to the
owner of a local diner. Interestingly, several
years earlier, Deputy Rogers had investigated a burglary
call at that same diner. Behind the cash
register was the owner’s Colt .38 caliber pistol. Apparently, Rogers stole it. MIKE LAGE: It was Rogers went in
there and picked that thing up and put it in his pocket. And he wrote down the
theft report on it. And he had that gun
ever since, and he used it to kill two
human beings with. So that, yeah,
that made me angry. NARRATOR: Dave Rogers
was arrested and charged with two counts of
first-degree murder. -When Dave Rogers was identified
and arrested, I was angry. I was shocked. You know, I trusted
him with my life. You know? Who knows, you know, for
whatever reason, you know, I could’ve been the victim. I mean, those kind of crazy
thoughts, at one point in time, went through my head. NARRATOR: Once in custody, he
offered some chilling insights into why a seemingly-normal
family man could not control his compulsion to kill. -My– my head goes crazy.
It spins. You know what I mean? I get to thinking
about something– PRISON PSYCHOLOGIST: Yeah. -and it– and it keeps
going and going and going. And uh– NARRATOR: The citizens
of Bakersfield were shocked to learn that a law
enforcement officer was charged for the murder of
21-year-old Kay Bradley and 15-year-old
Tracy Clark. Dave Rogers’ wife had
difficulty believing it. DAVE ROGERS’ WIFE: Great family
man, um, great human being. And this was the Dave
Rogers that I knew. MICHAEL TRIHEY: It’s hard to
imagine that a guy like that is a killer and, presumably,
a pretty cold-blooded killer. NARRATOR: But the forensic
evidence was overwhelming. MICHAEL TRIHEY: When
it came to trial, this case was not
a “who done it.” The question was, what
motivated this defendant? And what was his
degree of guilt? What was his state of mind
at the time of the killing? NARRATOR: In a taped interview
with the prison psychologist, Rogers admitted
soliciting prostitutes. -I’m not prejudiced. I have solicited blacks. I have solicited whites. I have solicited Mexicans. PRISON PSYCHOLOGIST:
Well, that sounds so formal when you say solicit. -Well, that’s what
I’ve done, you know. I’ve gone out and
solicited prostitutes. NARRATOR: And eventually,
Rogers admitted taking Tracy Clark to the canal. He claimed the two
had a disagreement. JOHN SOLIZ: She made
some comment to him that, I’ve been here too long. Now you have to give me more
money, or something like that. -I don’t think she called me a
queer or a faggot or something like that, but I think
she brought up me having different
sexual preferences. NARRATOR: Rogers claimed he
threw Tracy out of the truck, but that she stood in front
of it and refused to move. He also claimed she threatened
to file a police report. TRACY CLARK: What are going to– -He was making it sound like
a self-defense, because he claimed that Tracy Clark
was screaming and hollering and scratching him and that sort
of thing at the– at the scene. NARRATOR: Rogers’ mistake
was getting out of the truck to drag Tracy’s
body into the canal, leaving his shoe impressions
in the soft dirt. His second mistake was
wearing those same shoes to his interrogation. JOHN SOLIZ: As luck
would have it, for us, as the investigators,
that he was careless. He was very careless, and
he left a lot of evidence at the scene. He left evidence in his truck. He left evidence at home. NARRATOR: Rogers
had no explanation for why he killed his
first victim, Kay Bradley. JOHN SOLIZ: Ah,
he made a comment, if they did match my gun,
then I must have done it. But I don’t remember. NARRATOR: Rogers claimed his
actions were caused by parents who emotionally and physically
abused him as a child. SARA RYALS: You know, to say
that he was some sort of really nice guy who was just reacting
to his childhood, just kind of makes you
want to throw up. NARRATOR: Rogers also hinted
he welcomed the death penalty. -I– I can’t deal with having
killed this other person. I do not believe I should live. I’m not– PRISON PSYCHOLOGIST:
Are you saying, though, in some ways, you– you
plotted your own demise? -I just gave them
what they needed. PRISON PSYCHOLOGIST: So you
knew you– you had a plan? -Yes. NARRATOR: Dave
Rogers went on trial for the murder of Kay
Bradley and Tracy Clark. It took the jury two
days to find him guilty. He was sentenced to death. SARA RYALS: Juries like
to be able to figure out things for themselves. They like to play– not play
detective, but play detective story writer, in which
they have a lot of clues, and they can put them
together, and say, this can only be this man. -As far as I’m
concerned, he’s as worthless as a– as there is. But he’ll probably outlive me. He’s sucking my air, and I’m
paying for his room and board up there as a taxpayer. MICHAEL TRIHEY: Well, I think
that this case, the thing that really comes to my mind is how
he really led that double life, how he seemed to be one
thing and was accepted as that respectable law
enforcement officer. And yet at night,
like Jekyll and Hyde, he’d go out and have a
completely different side. And how he seemed to have
fooled everybody in his life until the criminalists and the
forensics caught up with him.

100 Comments

  1. Evie Hammond Author

    Because the victim had a condom wrapper by her dead body & in the manner she was dressed, it was assumed she was working as a prostitute. However, the suspect a member of law enforcement whose currently working as a deputy sheriff is a highly respected member of the community he serves. I've noticed in many episodes of this show the manner in which they describe the people involved in each case a double standard is used. I could understand if this happened in episodes in the initial episodes or first couple of seasons but it's pretty obvious & continues routinely.

    Reply
  2. Dee Dee Author

    I'm not a mean evil, arrogant, sexual predator and killer, it's my mind…it just spins and spins… I'm a good guy, a nice fella, kids a wife, great job…
    You're a murdering monster, own it! Place the blame where it belongs…your unnatural, uncivilized, inhumane DESIRE to fantasize, rape and murder young women. Simple…seeesh

    Reply
  3. Machisma Productions Author

    I’m so sick of stupid white women defending their sons and husbands. So dumb. Let my brothers or son try some shit like that. Bitch bye.

    Reply
  4. Lala Shelala Author

    I read that Rogers had a history of being a bad cop, was eventually fired then fought for his job and was reinstated. He hated prostitutes and once took his son on a tour where prostitutes hang out and called them scum.

    Reply
  5. Susan Oz Author

    This is what's so wrong with the penal system. Too much time is allowed on death row. 
    Once a person is placed on death row, they should only have 24 hours

    Reply
  6. Border Reiver Author

    love that prosecutors analogy to a banana split….nothing worse than a bent cop to destroy peoples belief in them…glad he was executed for the murders and bringing police into disrepute…thankfully that hooker was able to identify his truck and him and his shoes nailed him…blaming his childhood was bizarre…

    Reply
  7. Dreaming Dreamer Author

    Wearing the same shoes to his interrogation? Propping his feet up on the table? I wonder if there was some subconscious part of him that wanted to get caught.

    Reply
  8. Dreaming Dreamer Author

    I love how he felt the need to make sure everyone knew he was not a racist and that he solicited black, white, and Mexican prostitutes. He might be a serial killer, but at least he's not a racist one!

    Reply
  9. N.W.A. Author

    Funny how much evidence you need to convict a white person. Two eyewitnesses, positive id on the car, positive id on the shoe, but… imma need more evidence. And it took 2 whole days to render the judgement.

    Reply
  10. ReligiousZombie Author

    The dumb cop should have worn his uniform while making nooky with the hookers, then claimed he feared for his life. Internal Affairs would have determined he acted appropriately by shooting them.

    Reply
  11. Tony Fierro Author

    I'm from Bakersfield CA 😁 I was 13 when I first saw this episode on my 45 1am I was scared to death thinking about that murder😐 was going to brake down on the door 😱 and kill me😬 man those were the days😏 growing up in the outskirts of Bakersfield near the orange fields 😎😂😌

    Reply
  12. Joe Debono Author

    OK so his service gun was a different caliber (.357) to the gun used to kill the victims (.38) but surely the criminalists knew that a Colt .357 could also fire .38 ammunition.

    Reply
  13. Suku Mac Author

    When he gives the explanation of why he did it – ‘my head keeps going around and around , I can’t turn it off’. He’s describing classic OCD obsessive compulsive disorder – lots of people have this but don’t murder – thankfully for most people it’s a desire to clean the house or wash their hands over and over – some people take booze or drugs to shut their heads down – too bad he didn’t try the same.

    Reply
  14. Beatrixbelle Author

    The pathologist – Dr. Armand Dollinger was my grandpa. He passed away in 2005. It's so cool to see him, and hear his voice again! Thanks!

    Reply
  15. Tina Creekmore Author

    This ass hole has the mental capacity of 0 . He got away with it for awhile. He deserves a lethal injection. If he wasn't caught more people would have died. He's a serial killer. A piece of shit.

    Reply
  16. furhunter11 Author

    DEATH PENALTY!!!!…..EXCELLENT!….Is he DEAD yet??? KILL HIM!!! As the guy said..I'm sick that my tax money is paying for him to stay alive. I agree!! KILL HIM!!!! KILL HIM DEAD!!! KILL HIS @$$!!!!

    Reply
  17. megalopolis2015 Author

    Not only did those girls not deserve to die, they were GIRLS. Nobody had any business touching them inappropriately, but because they were dressed a certain way, people around them assumed their personas as being them. The same was true for the suspect. Because he wore a uniform, everyone assumed his role to be good. It is scary how often we put people in boxes, unable or refusing to see them for who they really are. Luckily this dude was so pompous he gave himself away eventually. I hope there are no other victims, though he seemed to already have his method down by then.

    Reply
  18. Cherry TR Author

    Sad for long officer 😥 to job keep safety but to kill innocent person in brutally way really you don't no who's can believe no matter in good position like police 😢 thank you for witness to solve the case

    Reply
  19. Frank Simmons Author

    Interesting that they arrest women for prostitution but they don't arrest the scoundrels who use them. Prostitutes sell a service. If no men were interested in their services, they would try a different line of business.

    Reply
  20. Fishy Author

    What a piece of scum. I’m glad he got cocky and ultimately caught. I really want to know what he was going to say he “was as worthless” as at 20:22 . I have a feeling he didn’t say what he was thinking

    Reply
  21. Manchester Is Blue Author

    lol i love that if its a woman who becomes a prostitute or a drug addict it's never her fault but the fault of "her surroundings, wrong crowd etc." but if it's a man then he's the spawn of satan

    Reply
  22. Uncle Quack Author

    How many Corrupt cop videos will it take to convince the public that cops are the most filthy sewage that's ever been foisted off on society? Corrupt scumbag cops are the worst organized criminal /gang member association ever known to human beings every crime committed needs to start within the local police they are all filthy scumbag garbage.

    Reply
  23. Uncle Quack Author

    This ignorant buffoon handed the case to the investigators so they better not dare pat their own backs as per usual they were spoon fed evidence.

    Reply
  24. D Mac Author

    Breaks my heart when young girls get killed and they show how they grew up.. cheerleader, singing, talented etc….and there outcome 😔🙏 rip ladies

    Reply
  25. Ranjith Jayasuriya Author

    Kay Bradley An A student in school became a prostitute and ended up dead in a canal then another body was found in the canal shot dead ! Both had been shot by the same gun and police found shoes prints possibly of the killer ! Could the killer it be one of their own ?

    Reply
  26. Anthony Crane Author

    WARNING !!! Good & Evil; Angel & Demon; Conscious & Subconscious; Positive & Negative is in every Human… SATAN have nothing to do with it… It all defends on the Individual on how to use it to produce Positive or Negative result: The CREATOR assigned SATAN in Hell because he always performs Incredible; Innovative and Excellent Job Guaranteed in Punishing IDIOTS who Transcends to the After Life… YOU ARE WARNED…

    Reply
  27. Michael Simion Author

    My parents physically & emotionally abused me, too. (Who's hasn't? No one's perfect!). But, guess what? I didn't grow up to pick up prostitutes & murder them!

    Reply
  28. oldgysgt Author

    The (Liberal) California Supreme Court has overturned his death sentence this year, so it looks like he will spend the rest of his life in prison. Even if the court had not overturned his death sentence California Governor "Any-Twosom" Newsom has stopped ALL State executions for as long as he is in office.

    Reply
  29. Ben Jones Author

    "Great family man, great human being" a quote from his wife. I believe under the right circumstances we all could be a David Rogers, or worse. We are sick, sinful, wicked people in need of a Savior. Thank God He gave us One.

    Reply
  30. Decibus Kalibos Author

    Hard to believe crooked cops were so unheard of in 1986, as if there was no such thing as a dirty cop til mid to late 90's. At the least regardless of their skepticism, they followed the OLD FASHIONED investigating and looked into the witness' statement, be it to clear him or not. Forensics took a back seat on this one. He never would have been considered otherwise. For me it is hard to believe at ANY GIVEN YEAR, there are good cops. I like this one because it shows something I have not seen before. "It does not matter if we believe it or not nor does it matter he is a cop. We have to check this out, that is our job that is what we do."

    Reply
  31. Cynthia L. J No Nonsense Author

    Look at the trash in this canal😨🤢

    Tragically, we are definitely dealing with predators, can we just give them their final resting place, not prison.

    Sorry to the families & friends of these horrible individuals.

    I don't understand why we continue to house MURDERS who have no other agenda in life.🤔😑

    This so called Law Enforcement Officer masking his deep, dark behavior.

    I understand this is this man's character, his family life allowed him to seem normal so he could take lives.

    Officers need to be given through background & Psychiatric evaluations checks every 12-18 months.

    I never heard of FBI agents, SWAT members, Detectives or DEA, etc. Using their affiliation to hunt down people for their sick twisted satisfaction.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *