The Molalla Forest Killer

Oct 14, 2009 - by David Lohr - 0 Comments

Dayton Leroy Rogers

Dayton Leroy Rogers

For serial killers, prostitutes make easy targets. Dayton Leroy Rogers bound and stabbed to death at least eight of them before his rampage ran its course.

by David Lohr

In the early morning hours of August 7, 1987, serial-killer Dayton Leroy Rogers picked up his last prostitute victim, 26-year-old Jenny Smith. He drove her into the parking lot of a small business complex in Clackamas County, a small suburb of Portland, Ore.

Rogers was known by prostitutes for his odd behavior and bondage fetishes; it probably came as no surprise to Smith when he asked her to remove her clothes and bound her hands with a restraint fashioned from a shoe lace. He then began to cut her back and breasts with a knife. Smith screamed in horror. Rogers then shoved the knife into her vagina and began to stab her uncontrollably. Suddenly, the restraint gave way and Smith fell out onto the pavement. Bleeding profusely from her wounds, she tried to escape. Rogers quickly got out of the truck and grabbed her by the neck. He threw her to the ground and continued to stab her over and over.

James Dahlke, who was in a Denny's parking lot across the street, heard Smith scream. He motioned to another man in the parking to go with him to check out the commotion. By the time they were able to locate the source of the screams, Rogers was on top of Smith, between her legs and appearing to have sex with her.

"What do you think you are doing?" asked Dahlke.

Rogers got up and ran around the west side of the building. When Dahlke looked down at Smith he saw blood gushing out of a hole in her neck and various wounds in her abdomen. She did not appear to be conscious. A passerby rushed over and began administering CPR. Richard Bergio, the man in the parking lot with Dahlke, saw Rogers get into a pick-up truck and speed away. Bergio ran to his own vehicle and began to chase the blue Nissan pick-up truck. Just outside the city limits, Bergio was able to get close enough to make out the license plate number on the truck. He wrote the number down and hurried back to the scene of the crime.

Smith was rushed to the emergency room at Emanuel Hospital, where she later died in surgery.

Bergio reported to investigators the license plate number and gave a description of the assailant. The vehicle was registered to Dayton Leroy Rogers, who lived in a mobile home at 10518 South Hinds Road in Camby (a small town south of Portland).

Police questioned Rogers at his place of business, read him his rights, and then arrested him. After Rogers was booked, investigators confiscated his clothes and possessions, and impounded his vehicle for processing.

At the crime scene, police discovered a knife lying beneath some bushes. Police quickly executed a search warrant for Rogers's mobile home and business. They confiscated hair, clothing, a hacksaw, and knives. Inside of his truck, police found reddish brown stains. Lab tests showed the stains to be human blood, but not the blood of either Smith or Rogers.

On Aug. 31, 1987, Everett Banyard was hunting in the Molalla Forest when he discovered a decomposed body hidden under some brush. In going over the crime scene, detectives soon discovered six more bodies, dumped throughout the wooded area. Autopsies revealed that all seven were female, and that each had been bound, tortured, and had died as a result of multiple stab wounds. All seven of the woman had been murdered with the same type of knife.

One of the knives found at the scene matched the one Rogers had used to kill Smith.

The bodies were soon identified as that of 23-year-old Lisa Marie Mock, 26-year-old Maureen Ann Hodges, 35-old Christine Lotus Adams, 20- year-old Cynthia Devore, 26-year-old Nondace Cervantes, and 16-year-old Riatha Gyles. All of the victims were known prostitutes. The seventh body has never been identified.

A Clackamas Grand Jury indicted Rogers on Oct. 7, 1987, on charges of aggravated murder in connection with Smith's murder. Prosecutors had decided to try Smith's murder separate from the others in order to give them more time to build their case for the other homicides and to secure Rogers's incarnation. Rogers plead not guilty.

On Feb. 4, 1988 the trial began. Following two weeks of testimony by investigators, pathologists and character witnesses, Rogers was found guilty of Smith's murder on Feb. 20, 1988. Two weeks later he was sentenced to serve life in prison.

Rogers was later indicted on the Molalla forest killings. On May 4, 1988, after five weeks of testimony and six hours of deliberation, the jury found him guilty of aggravated murder on all counts. Rogers was sentenced to death by lethal injection. He resides on death row at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Ore.


Blood Lust – Portrait of a Serial Sex Killer ; Gary C. King, Penguin Group,1992.

The Molalla Forest Killer – Dayton Leroy Rogers.

Various issues of the 'Oregonian News'.

Encyclopedia of Serial Killers ; Michael Newton, Incorporated
Pub. Date: February 2000.

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