Prosecution witness recants identification of defendant as the assailant
The death sentence has been overturned for a former deputy sheriff because of unreliable witness testimony at his penalty trial, the California Supreme Court ruled. The court did uphold his conviction of two murders.
The death sentence was overturned July 15 due to the discredited testimony of Tambri Butler, a prosecution witness in the penalty phase of his trial.
Rogers, a former Kern County deputy sheriff, will now serve a sentence of life without the possibility of pa- role unless the prosecution decides to hold a new penalty trial.
“I am now more concerned than ever that I wrongly identified David Rogers as the man who attacked me,” Butler said in a Supreme Court declaration.
Butler’s credibility came into question in 2011, when she claimed she was sexually molested by Rogers multiple times while in custody. Rogers was arrested days after the Clark murder. He confessed, but denied any involvement in the murder of Benintende.
Rogers claimed his gun went off accidentally while he was threatening Clark to perform sex acts for $30.
At his trial his attorneys claimed he had been physically and sexually abused as a child. Mental health professionals testified that Rogers killed Clark while he was in an “impulsive, highly emotional state.”