A state appeals court panel Friday upheld a Lennox man’s conviction for murdering his former nursing instructor, who had appeared as a contestant on a television reality show.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found that “the evidence overwhelmingly supports the jury’s verdict’ in the case of Jackie Jerome Rogers.
He was convicted in September 2018 of first-degree murder for the Dec. 18, 2016, killing of 36-year-old Lisa Marie Naegle of San Pedro, who was on the E! Entertainment Television series “Bridalplasty” in 2010.
The victim’s body was found buried in a shallow grave covered with dirt and manure in the back yard of the home where Rogers lived with his parents.
Rogers subsequently confessed two days later to killing Naegle and burying her, according to the appellate court panel’s 22-page opinion.
Rogers — who testified that he had an affair with the married woman — claimed he “just snapped” and struck her over the head with a hammer while the two were inside his car, according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
“After Rogers hit Naegle with the hammer in the car over and over until she could no longer recover, he drove her to his backyard. He put her in a wheelbarrow, dug a grave to fit her, dumped her in it, and then coolly hit her twice in the back of the head when she moved, to make sure she was dead,” the appellate court justices noted. “Rogers’s own testimony about the final hammer blows is substantial evidence supporting his conviction of first degree murder.”
Rogers’ trial attorney, Jeremy Lessem, told jurors that his client — whom he said has developmental disabilities — snapped after “repeated mental abuse over a six-month period.”
Far from ready to leave her husband for Rogers, Naegle was going in for in-vitro fertilization appointments the week before she was killed, Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski told jurors.
Rogers was sentenced in April 2019 to 26 years to life in state prison.
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