Episode 162:

Prom Queen City

The Mark "Gator" Rogowski Murder

Georgia

The Jane Bashara Murder

Karen

Episode 162: Prom Queen City

Karen and Georgia cover murderer Mark "Gator" Rogowski and the murder of Jane Bashara.

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The Mark "Gator" Rogowski Murder

The Mark "Gator" Rogowski Murder Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Lukas Bato on Unsplash

"Mark Anthony "Gator" Rogowski (born August 10, 1966) is an American former professional skateboarder who was convicted of murder. He was mainly prominent in the 1980s and early 1990s. His career ended when he pled guilty for assaulting, raping and murdering Jessica Bergsten in 1992. His life was chronicled in a critically acclaimed 2003 documentary titled Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator by American filmmaker Helen Stickler.

Rogowski's popularity began to wane as the vert skating that was popular in the 1980s was supplanted by street skateboarding in the 1990s. Vision, the company that he had spent the majority of his career with, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Looking to reinvent himself, Rogowski changed his name to "Gator" Mark Anthony, explaining that "Rogowski" was the name of his father whom he had never really known.

After a severe accident in West Germany, where Rogowski either fell or was pushed from a hotel window and landed on a fence, Rogowski returned home to Carlsbad to recover. After befriending Augie Constantino, an ex-surfer turned born-again Christian who also became his "spiritual advisor", Rogowski converted to a strict Evangelical form of Christianity that influenced Rogowski's attitude and skateboard deck designs. After four years of dating McClain, Rogowski suggested that the couple marry, as they "can't have sex anymore unless we get married." The sudden lifestyle change contributed to the end of McClain's relationship with Rogowski, along with his occasional bouts of violence and unprovoked jealousy, and she returned to her parents' home in San Diego, California. Rogowski began a period of severe alcoholism following McClain's departure.

Following the end of his relationship with McClain, Rogowski became obsessively jealous: he forcibly entered her home to steal gifts he had given her; he made threatening telephone calls to McClain's new boyfriend's home; and he also threatened McClain directly. McClain informed the police about Rogowski's behavior—the police filed a report, but the situation was not monitored continuously. On March 20, 1991, Rogowski received a call from 22-year-old Bergsten, whom he had not spoken to in years, as she had recently moved to California. Bergsten asked Rogowski to show her around San Diego. They spent a day together on March 21, 1991; shortly after, Bergsten was reported missing. According to Rogowski, he and Bergsten went back to his condo to watch movies and drink wine. He admitted to coming up behind her and hitting her in the head with a Club (a metal auto anti-theft device). After knocking her semi-unconscious by way of several strikes, he handcuffed her and dragged her to his bedroom on the second floor and raped her while she was shackled to his bed. Afterward, he placed her in a surfboard bag because he was concerned about the neighbors hearing the noise. Rogowski placed his hand over Bergsten's mouth until she stopped breathing and then drove the body to the Shell Canyon desert, where he disposed of the corpse in a shallow grave. Bergsten's body was found by campers on April 10, 1991, but it was so decomposed that it could not be identified.Plagued by guilt, Rogowski informed Constantino of what he had done: "Remember that girl from the poster? She was the one I killed." Constantino encouraged Rogowski to confess his crime to the police—which Rogowski did—thereby waiving his legal rights.

Rogowski turned himself in on April 11, 1991 and led the police to the burial site where he had disposed of Bergsten's body. The police then searched his home and found evidence of blood, which had soaked through the carpet padding and into the floorboards in two small spots, adjacent to where Bergsten's head had allegedly rested. In his confession, Rogowski conveyed that he had killed Bergsten in a misplaced act of revenge towards McClain, calling Bergsten the "mold Brandi was made out of." Upon entering prison, Rogowski was diagnosed with a severe case of bipolar disorder.

Rogowski received a 31-year to life prison sentence: six years for forcible rape and 25 years to life for the first-degree murder charges to be served consecutively. Rogowski was denied parole on February 7, 2011. Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs argued that Rogowski remained an "unreasonable risk to society" and should remain imprisoned, while a family member of Bergsten also attended the hearing and requested that Rogowski remain incarcerated. On February 6, 2015, another parole hearing was scheduled, but Rogowski waived his right to a hearing for one year. On March 9, 2016, he was again denied parole for seven years. Rogowski will not be eligible for parole again until March 2023, which marks the minimum of his sentence.

As of December 2018, Rogowski is incarcerated at Donovan State Prison, assigned inmate number H27508..."

— Source: Mark Pogowski Wikipedia

The Murder of Jane Bashara

The Jane Bashara Murder Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

"The death of Jane Bashara has prompted a widely publicized investigation into the circumstances of her death. Bashara was a marketing executive and a resident of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. On January 25, 2012, she was found dead in the back seat of her abandoned Mercedes-Benz SUV in an alley in Detroit, Michigan. The cause of death was strangulation.

Law enforcement officials have named Bashara's husband, Bob Bashara, as a person of interest. Joe Gentz, a mentally impaired handyman, was arrested in March 2012 and charged with first degree murder after reportedly telling police that Bob Bashara had paid him $2,000 and an old Cadillac to murder his wife. Bob Bashara was arraigned on first degree murder charges in the death of his wife on May 1, 2013.In the fall of 2015 true-crime journalist Steve Miller released a book on the trial, "Murder in Grosse Pointe Park: Privilege, Adultery, and the Killing of Jane Bashara." The book was released via Penguin/Berkley.

Jane Bashara was last seen by co-workers on the afternoon of January 24, 2012, after a meeting in downtown Detroit. Her husband filed a missing person report with the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department at approximately 11:30 p.m. On January 25, 2012, Bashara's body was discovered in the backseat of her Mercedes SUV, which was parked in an alley on the east side of Detroit. A tow truck driver discovered the body at 7:00 a.m. while patrolling for stolen vehicles. Police reported that Bashara had died from strangulation and that she had bruises and broken finger nails indicating she had "fought for her life."

On December 18, 2014, Bob Bashara was found guilty of the murder of his wife Jane with sentencing set for January 15, 2015. On January 15, 2015, Bob Bashara was sentenced to life without parole by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge, Vonda Evans..."

— Source: Death of Jane Bashara Wikipedia

 

 

Fucking Hoorays!

Georgia:

Mine is hotel chicken strips... With all these travels we've been doing, being able to order chicken strips off the kids menu is really comforting to me. It's a comforting thing after a crazy show. You get to the hotel and you want food... You go to the kids menu and get chicken strips.

Karen:

For mine I want to talk about the death of Brody Stevens, who is a legendary standup comic. I knew him pretty well, he was one of those comics who did 3 shows a night. He really really suffered with his mental illness. It's such a tragedy... If you are dealing with your mental illness and you feel lost or alone, reach out. Hopefully one of the things about this community around this podcast is the freedome to talk about mental illness and mental health. The idea that he's not here anymore leaves a hollow feeling. If you are even close to any of those feelings, please reach out and get help. Also, watch his comedy because he was an incredible, individual voice.