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Ax murderer set free

By Katherine Collins • Mar 16, 2017 at 1:30 PM

A Springfield man who murdered his father and brother with an ax in 1987 will be released next month on parole after 30 years in prison, despite objections from the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jerry Rogan was 20 years old at the time of the murders. He pleaded no contest to the slayings of his 15-year-old brother Terry Rogan and 55-year-old father Perry Rogan, and was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

The father and son were killed with an ax as they slept, the Springfield News-Sun reported at the time. Jerry Rogan was arrested for the crime after he called 9-1-1 and said the pair were “gone.” Police said he later admitted to committing the murders after an eight-hour interrogation.

His plea was part of an agreement with the prosecutor’s office to change the charges from aggravated murder to murder. He also waived his right to appeal as part of the agreement.

Family and friends were shocked to hear Jerry Rogan was charged with the crime when it happened, the Springfield News-Sun previously reported. He was a star football player and wrestler at South High School. Those who saw him just hours before the deaths said he seemed completely normal.

Now Jerry Rogan is just weeks away from getting out of prison after the parole board found him eligible for release.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction parole board met in Columbus last July to consider Jerry Rogan’s release, Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said. The prosecutor’s office attended the hearing to oppose his release.

“Nobody would’ve predicted this the first time … You can’t say that it’s not going to happen or he’s not going to do something again,” Wilson said.

Jerry Rogan should stay behind bars, Wilson said, because of the severity of the murders.

“Anytime you have a guy who out of the blue bludgeons to death two people — two family members with no indication that there was any problem — that’s a concern,” he said.

But the parole board disagreed, Wilson said, and Rogan will be released on April 1. He’ll be required to be under supervised parole for five years.

Parole board members don’t have to explain their reasoning for the decision, Wilson said, but consider an inmate’s record while in prison, time served and facts of the case.

The parole board didn’t return calls from the Springfield News-Sun as of Wednesday evening.

“The folks over in Columbus obviously don’t seem as concerned,” Wilson said. “So they’re going to take a chance on him.”

Jerry Rogan’s sister, Tonya Stillgess, said she still has questions about her family members’ deaths.

“We still don’t understand what happened and why it happened … I loved my father and my brother,” she said.

Wilson said he was disappointed and concerned to hear the parole board’s decision, but there isn’t anything else the prosecutor’s office can do to keep Rogan behind bars.

“We did everything that we could to oppose this parole,” he said.

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©2017 Springfield News-Sun, Ohio

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