Sentencing is set Monday for a Lennox man convicted of murdering his former nursing instructor, who had appeared as a contestant on a television reality show.
Jackie Jerome Rogers, 36, is facing a potential 26-year-to-life term in state prison for the Dec. 18, 2016, killing of Lisa Marie Naegle, who was on the E! Entertainment Television series “Bridalplasty” in 2010.
Rogers was convicted last Sept. 24 of first-degree murder, along with use of a deadly weapon.
The 36-year-old San Pedro woman’s naked body was found buried in a shallow grave covered with dirt and manure in the back yard of the residence where Rogers lived with his parents in the 5000 block of West 106th Street in Lennox, near the San Diego (405) Freeway. Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski told jurors that the murder was premeditated.
Defense attorney Jeremy Lessem acknowledged in his opening statement to the Torrance jury that his client had killed Naegle, but told the panel that it was a crime committed in the heat of passion by a man who lost control.
He told jurors that his client and Naegle had a sexual relationship in which Rogers fell in love with the married woman, and that Rogers finally “broke” after months of beying “toyed” with by Naegle.
The defense attorney contended that his client — whom he said has developmental disabilities — snapped after “repeated mental abuse over a six-month period.”
“Miss Naegle did not deserve to die. This is a tragedy,” Lessem said, calling the killing “the act of a very damaged, very hurt person with intellectual deficits who broke down and did something he never should have done.”
The prosecutor showed the Torrance jury a photo of the hammer used “to essentially bash in Lisa’s head,” then displayed a graphic image of the results. The defendant hit the victim “at least eight times,” leaving “her skull in pieces,” Ostrowski said.
Investigators found blood and Naegle’s DNA in Rogers’ car “from her head being slammed over and over again with that hammer,” despite the fact that the car had been cleaned, the deputy district attorney said.
Far from ready to leave her husband for Rogers, Naegle was going in for in vitro fertilization appointments the week before she was killed, the prosecutor told jurors.
Rogers lied and repeatedly told Naegle’s husband, Derek Harryman, and other members of her family that Naegle had wanted to keep partying and he left her to go home, the prosecutor said.
When family members saw video from Alpine Village showing the two walking out together, they called 911. The registered nurse’s body was subsequently unearthed.
Rogers was arrested Dec. 20, 2016, by Los Angeles police, and he has remained behind bars since then.
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