OREGON CITY, Ore. -- An all-woman jury took six hours to convict Dayton Leroy Rogers of Molalla Forest torture slayings of six prostitutes in Oregon's worst serial murder case.
The Clackamas County Circuit Court jury convicted Rogers Thursday night on all 13 counts of aggravated murder, aggravated felony murder and felony murder. He was charged with killing the women during the course of kidnapping, intentional torture and, in one case, sexual abuse.
Rogers, 36, put his head in his right hand and shook his head 'no' repeatedly as the jury's verdict was read. Each juror was polled on each of the 13 counts.
Circuit Judge Raymond Bagley set May 22 as the start of the penalty phase of the trial, in which the same jury will decide whether Rogers should be sentenced to die by lethal injection or life in prison.
Rogers already is serving a life term for the slaying of another Portland prostitute. Under Oregon law, a killer sentenced to life can be paroled in as little as 20 years, although the judge could order that the six sentences be served consecutively.
Rogers was accused in the slayings of six women whose bodies were found scattered on a wooded hillside near the Molalla River in the late summer of 1987. He was not charged in the death of a seventh woman whose body was not identified.
Rogers was convicted of aggravated murder last year in the 1987 stabbing death of Portland prostitute Jennifer Smith outside an Oak Grove restaurant. The jury in that case did not impose the death penalty.
Preosecutors and defense attorney declined comment after the verdict was returned.
Lotus Flynn, the mother of victim Christine Lotus Adams, 35, said family members were not sure if they support the death penalty but were glad Rogers was convicted.
Earlier Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Andrejs Eglitis took about 90 minutes to sum up the state's case in closing arguments. Defense attorney Chris Burris then spent more than an hour disputing evidence he called 'circumstantial at best.'
Eligitis claimed Rogers left his 'signature' at the crime scene and recounted testimony, much from ex-prostitutes, about Rogers' interests in torture and sexual bondage -- particularly torture involving the feet. Four of the victims had one or both feet cut off at the ankles.
'This is a signature,' Eglitis said. 'The defendant not only committed these murders in Molalla but he may as well have written his name on those corpses.'
Burris, who rested his defense Wednesday without calling any witnesses, told jurors the state had proved nothing beyond a reasonable doubt. He also attacked some witnesses' credibility, saying they had changed their testimony.
Rogers was arrested in August 1987 after he fled from the parking lot of an all-night restaurant in Oak Grove, where he tortured and stabbed Smith. During his previous trial, Rogers admitted burning Smith's clothes and one of her shoes in his wood stove.
Smith and the Molalla victims were stabbed, possibly with a kitchen utility knife found a few yards from one of the bodies.