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SC Army soldier found guilty in killing of Chester County grandfather, great-grandmother

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A South Carolina Army soldier was sentenced to 60 years in prison after a jury found him guilty Thursday of killing his grandfather and great-grandmother in a case where prosecutors said the motive was greed.

The jury deliberated for about an hour after an eight-day trial at the Chester County Courthouse before finding Gene Alexzander Scott guilty of double murder in the deaths of Gene Rogers, 61, and Billie Rogers, 78, said Randy Newman, 6th Circuit Solicitor.

The victims were found shot to death in Gene Rogers’ home near Interstate 77 in a rural area on Father’s Day 2020. Over a year later, law enforcement officers arrested Scott, 26, of Columbia, at an Army base in Germany where he was stationed. He joined the Army after the killings. Before the crime, he had been in the Marines.

Visiting Judge Donald Hocker sentenced Scott to 60 years for each murder to run concurrently, Newman and Deputy Solicitor Candice Lively said.

“We are so proud of our Chester team and Deputy Solicitor Lively,” Newman said after the guilty verdict. “I pray that all the friends and family of Billie and Gene receive at least a bit of closure tonight.”

Murder in South Carolina is a no-parole offense.

Lively, the lead prosecutor in the trial, said Scott wanted his grandfather’s money and life insurance. Scott had blown through more than $80,000 his grandfather had given him in 2020 but wanted more, Lively said.

Lively said after the verdict the family of the victims received justice after waiting years for the case to go to trial.

“After two weeks of trial we finally achieved closure for them after this verdict,” Lively said.

Defense lawyers Kay Boulware and William Frick of the 6th Circuit Public Defender’s Office represented Scott. They said Scott will appeal the verdict and sentence.

“While we respect the jury’s decision, we are disappointed in the verdict,” Boulware and Frick said.

‘I am not guilty,’ Scott testified

Scott spent hours Thursday testifying that he was not guilty.

But under cross-examination that turned argumentative, Lively said Scott is an admitted liar who killed both for the money he stood to inherit. Prosecutors said Scott plotted the crimes and set up a phony alibi before the killings.

Scott’s internet searches before and after the crime included how long it takes for insurance to pay out, the death penalty and “how to get away with murder” — information prosecutors said pointed right at Scott.

But Scott testified internet searches cited by prosecutors were not connected to the killings despite prosecutors contending they were done just hours after the deaths.

Scott said he found the bodies but could not call 911 himself because he locked his phone in his car. Prosecutors, though, seized on Scott’s admissions he lied about a security business to try and discredit his testimony.

Under examination by his lawyer, public defender Kay Boulware, Scott testified Gene Rogers was like a father to him and generous.

Scott admitted he blew through the money on strip clubs, alcohol and guns. He also admitted he made up claims about being in Ukraine to try and get security business contracts after he left the Marines in 2020.

Scott said he knew he was a suspect in June 2020 because police asked him if he had killed them. He was emotional on the witness stand when describing finding the bodies.

“I am not guilty,” Scott told Boulware. “There is no amount of money that is going to cause me to kill Gene.”

Prosecutor: Scott tried to cover it up

Lively, the lead prosecutor in the case, hammered Scott during cross-examination about his repeated lies. She said Scott planned the crime and carried it out after Gene Rogers finally stopped giving him money.

Lively asked Scott about going back to Gene Rogers repeatedly for money before blowing it on strip clubs and other expenses while claiming online to be a security expert.

Scott told Lively: “Don’t make me look like a narcissist.”

Lively shot back: “I don’t have to make anybody think you are a narcissist. You are doing a good job yourself.”

Lively asked repeatedly about the internet searches and purported fake alibi for Scott’s whereabouts at around the time of the killings. She claimed other witness testimony and evidence show Scott planned the crimes then killed both victims.

Scott argued back that he is not a killer.

“I did not kill my grandfather, point blank,” Scott said in response to Lively in cross-examination. “Forgive me if I am not entirely happy about this.”


(c) 2024 The Herald

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