SALEM, Ore. (AP) â€” The state Supreme Court today overturned the death sentence of Oregon's worst serial killer, ordering a new sentencing hearing for Dayton Leroy Rogers, who was convicted in 1989 of murdering six prostitutes.
The trial court erred by not allowing the sentencing jury to consider the option of life without chance of parole, the state Supreme Court ruled. The trial court also failed to allow a psychologist to testify about possible causes of Rogers' brain damage, the high court said.
This is the second time Rogers' death sentence has been overturned by the state Supreme Court.
The first time, in 1992, the sentence was thrown out in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that juries had to consider additional factors in death penalty cases.
At the second sentencing, jurors heard evidence that Rogers suffered from brain damage and had a troubled childhood. Nonetheless, the jury reimposed the death penalty.
Now a third sentencing hearing will have to be held.
In 1989, a Clackamas County jury convicted him of aggravated murder and sentenced him to die for murdering six prostitutes and dumping their bodies in a wooded area. The body of a seventh, unidentified woman was found with the others. Rogers was not charged with her death, but his attorneys admitted in court that he killed her.
When those bodies were found in 1987, he was already in custody as a suspect for the murder of another prostitute. He was later convicted of that murder.