55-year-old convicted of killing gay prostitute, businessman refuses
to reveal motives as judge hands down maximum sentences
TOMS RIVER, N.J. Calling him “an evil human being,” a judge ordered consecutive life sentences Jan. 20 for a former nurse convicted in the murders of a businessman and a gay prostitute whose remains were dumped along New Jersey highways.
Richard W. Rogers, 55, of Staten Island, N.Y., stood stoically, declining one last chance to explain what drove him to kill, as Superior Court Judge James Citta gave him the maximum penalties for the murders.
Investigators still don’t know the motive for the killings of Thomas Mulcahy, 56, of Sudbury, Mass., and Anthony Marrero, 44.
“He did it because he could, and because he wanted to,” said Tracey Mulcahy, 32, Mulcahy’s daughter, her voice breaking as she stood about 10 feet from the shackled Rogers in court.
Rogers, who worked for 20 years as a surgical nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, was caught in 2001 after investigators matched fingerprints taken from the plastic bags containing the remains.
Rogers’ fingerprints were on file in Maine, where he was acquitted in 1973 in the hammer-beating death of a fellow graduate school student at the University of Maine. He had claimed self defense.
Rogers was also acquitted in a 1990 case in which the victim testified that he met Rogers in a New York bar, returned to Rogers’ home with him and was drugged, waking up naked and bound at the wrists and legs.
Both murder victims disappeared in New York.
Mulcahy disappeared July 8, 1992 while there for a business meeting. One of the last places he was seen was the Townhouse, a gay bar Rogers frequented.
His remains were found a month later some at a state Department of Transportation maintenance yard in Burlington County, others in a trash barrel at a Garden State Parkway rest stop.
Marreo’s remains were found 10 months later near a road in Manchester, also in double-knotted plastic bags.
Rogers, who was convicted in a trial last November despite his lawyer’s assertion that police arrested the wrong man, was also found guilty of hindering his apprehension by disposing of the body parts. He got 10 years for that Friday.
The lawyer, David Ruhnke, plans to appeal the conviction. He contends that prosecutors never proved the men were killed in New Jersey and that the court didn’t have jurisdiction as a result.
Citta had the choice of ordering consecutive or concurrent prison terms.
“In 25 years of practicing criminal law, I have never seen a case more bizarre, more gruesome, more depraved,” Executive Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor William J. Heisler told him. “If ever there was a case that screamed out for consecutive sentences, this is it.”
Mulcahy’s daughters fought back tears remembering their father, a computer equipment sales executive they described as a loving father who grappled with alcoholism and his bisexuality, trying to keep them from his family.
“My father died senselessly, at the hands of a monster, and I can only hope that it never happens to anyone else,” said Susan Mulcahy, 40.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 3, 2006