Nashville, TN -- Jan.
22, 2000 -- William Glenn Rogers was sentenced to death yesterday for
the kidnapping, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jackie Beard. He had posed
as a police officer to gain her trust.
Rogers, 37, was
convicted Monday of one count of premeditated 1st-degree murder, 2
counts of felony murder, 2 counts of kidnapping and 1 count each of rape
of a child, aggravated sexual battery, criminal impersonation and
impersonation of a police officer.
Police believe the girl
was abducted near her Montgomery County home July 8, 1996, while picking
blackberries. Her body was found by deer hunters four months later in
the Stewart County portion of Land Between the Lakes.
March 5, 2000 --
Already sentenced to death for the killing of 9-year-old Jackie Beard,
William Glenn Rogers yesterday received an additional 48 years for
kidnapping and raping the girl.
Rogers scoffed in
response to being called a pedophile in court, but he showed no reaction
when given 2 24-year sentences for especially aggravated kidnapping and
rape of a child.
William Glenn Rogers
On July 3, 1996, nine-year-old
Jacqueline Beard was playing with her twelve-year-old brother, Jeremy,
and her eleven-year-old cousin, Michael, at a mud puddle near her home
in the Cumberland Heights area of Clarksville in Montgomery County.
The defendant, thirty-four-year-old
William Glenn Rogers, approached the children and introduced himself as
“Tommy Robertson.” He said he was an undercover police officer, offered
the children fireworks, and invited them to go swimming.
Jackie went home and
told her mother about the man. Jackie's mother took Jackie back to the
mud puddle to investigate. While the children played with the fireworks,
Jackie's mother talked with Rogers, who continued to identify himself as
undercover officer Tommy Robertson. After approximately thirty-five
minutes, Rogers left in his car.
At around 1:30 p.m. on
July 8, 1996, Rogers appeared at the Meyer residence asking about a lost
key. Jackie was with her mother when Jackie's mother spoke with Rogers.
Rogers was last seen walking down the road toward a nearby abandoned
A few minutes later,
Jackie's mother gave Jackie permission to pick blackberries to take to
the doctor’s office where Jackie's mother had an appointment that
afternoon. Jackie changed her shorts immediately before leaving the
At 1:55 p.m., Jackie's
mother was ready to leave and called for Jackie but could not find her.
At around 2:00 p.m., a neighbor saw a car matching the description of
Rogers’ car leaving the immediate area. The neighbor had seen the same
car heading in the direction of the Meyer residence about an hour or two
searched the area by car and on foot to no avail. Jackie was never seen
alive again. Jackie's mother reported her daughter’s disappearance to
the authorities. A composite drawing of the suspect was published in the
Clarksville newspaper. Several people reported to the Montgomery County
Sheriff’s Department that the person in the drawing resembled Rogers.
On July 11, 1996, law
enforcement officers questioned Rogers, who at first denied being in the
Cumberland Heights area. In his next interview, however, Rogers told the
officers that he had been in the area on July 3, 1996, shooting
fireworks with three boys. He later acknowledged that Jackie was one of
the three children.
speaking with Jackie's mother about his lost key on July 8, 1996, but
denied seeing Jackie that day. He said he walked to the abandoned
trailer, went to the bathroom there, and then left in his car to look
for a job.
As the questioning
continued, Rogers changed his story again and acknowledged that Jackie
was present during his conversation with her mother on July 8, 1996.
Rogers ultimately confessed that, after leaving the abandoned trailer,
he accidentally ran over Jackie as he backed up his car.
Rogers said he heard a
thud, discovered the victim under the car, and pulled her out. Her chest
was moving as she tried to inhale, and blood was coming out of her nose.
Rogers saw tire tracks across her right calf, right shoulder, and neck.
He covered Jackie’s head with a shirt that he removed from the trunk of
the car. Rogers placed Jackie in the front passenger seat of the car,
drove to a bridge over the Cumberland River, and threw her body, along
with a sandal that had fallen from her foot, into the water.
He stated that he did
not touch her “in any way sexually or abusive.” Rogers reduced this
story to writing and signed the statement. Rogers made a diagram
depicting how his car had run over the victim. He also signed the back
of a photograph of the victim where he had written, “This is the girl I
The following day, July
12, 1996, when officers asked Rogers about the possibility that the
victim’s fingerprints were in the car, Rogers changed his story yet
again. In a second written statement, Rogers corrected his earlier
statement by adding that the victim had gotten into the passenger side
of his car and talked to him for about five minutes before she left
saying her mother had to go to the doctor.
Later on July 12, 1996,
Rogers went with officers and his court-appointed attorney to the sites
where he allegedly had run over the victim and thrown her body into the
river. Rogers re-enacted the events of July 8, 1996, in a manner
consistent with his written statements.
Investigation of the
abandoned trailer showed that Jackie’s home and yard were visible from a
bay window. A search of Rogers’ car revealed a handheld telescope, a can
of glass cleaner, and a map opened to the Middle Tennessee region,
including the Land Between the Lakes area. A floor mat was on the
driver’s side but not the passenger’s side.
fingerprints were on loose items in the car, officers found no
fingerprints on the car’s interior surfaces. Divers searched in the
Cumberland River near the bridge where Rogers said he had thrown
Jackie’s body, but nothing was found.
On November 8, 1996,
four months after Jackie’s disappearance, two deer hunters discovered
Jackie’s skull in a remote, wooded area in Land Between the Lakes in
Stewart County. DNA analysis of the teeth established that the
mitochondrial DNA sequence matched the DNA sample from Jackie’s mother.
The skeletal remains of
the victim were scattered around the area, which was several hundred
yards from the Cumberland River and approximately forty-eight miles from
her home. Both of Jackie’s sandals were found at the scene. The clothing
worn by Jackie when she disappeared was strewn near the bones. Her shirt
had been turned completely inside out, and human semen stains were on
the inside crotch of her shorts. A DNA sequence could not be obtained
from the semen stains for comparison to the DNA sample provided by
Rogers. However, fibers consistent with carpet in Rogers’ house were
found in his car and on Jackie’s shorts.
anthropologist, examined the victim’s skeletal remains. He testified
that the remains had been in the area from three to ten months. The
doctor explained that some of Jackie’s bones – the hands, the feet, one
entire leg, and the lower part of another leg – were never recovered and
probably had been removed from the scene by animals.
He could not determine
the cause of death but stated that he found no ante-mortem trauma to the
bones such as would be expected had a car run over Jackie. Likewise, the
Stewart County Medical Examiner was unable to determine the cause or
manner of Jackie’s death.
Rogers’ estranged wife
testified that on July 4, 1996, she and Rogers went to Land Between the
Lakes. On the drive back, they stopped at a picnic area off Dover Road
about ten to fifteen miles from where Jackie’s body was found. After
walking in the woods, Rogers remarked to his wife that “you could bury a
body back here and nobody would ever find it.”
Mrs. Rogers also
testified that on July 8, 1996, the day of Jackie’s disappearance, she
did not see Rogers from before lunch until after 6:00 p.m. When he
appeared that evening, his pants were muddy at the knees. The outside of
the car also was muddy.
Rogers told his wife
that he had been in a tobacco field on Dover Road. When she noticed a
spot of blood on his shirt, he told her that he had cut his finger, but
she did not see a cut. Although she had given Rogers money to put
gasoline in the car earlier in the day, the tank was almost empty.
Mrs. Rogers also
noticed small fingerprints on the inside of the passenger side
windshield. The muddy prints went down the windshield. When asked by his
wife if a child had been in the car, Rogers said no.
Mrs. Rogers further
testified that on July 9, 1996, the day following Jackie’s disappearance,
she accompanied Rogers to the garbage dump. She thought it was unusual
that Rogers took only one bag of trash all the way to the dump. She
noticed that the car had been cleaned since the day before, both inside
and out, but Rogers denied cleaning it.
On July 11, 1996, after
the police contacted Rogers, he told his wife he had informed the police
that he had been with her the entire afternoon of July 8, 1996. She
refused to support his alibi.
On the evening of July
11, 1996, after his arrest, Rogers called his wife and told her that he
had confessed to vehicular homicide and would be home in a couple of
hours. Rogers made several additional, sometimes contradictory,
statements about his involvement in Jackie’s death.
He called his wife
numerous times from jail seeking to speak with her and promising, if she
would pick up the telephone, he would tell her what really happened and
where Jackie Beard could be found.
Rogers also wrote his
wife a letter stating that Jackie’s death had been an accident, had not
been planned or thought out, and had “just happened.” Rogers told his
mother and half-brother that he had run over Jackie and informed his
mother that she should not worry because “all they could get him for was
Rogers sent Jackie’s
stepfather a letter, in which he wrote that he did not hurt Jackie in
any way. Rogers also contacted a Clarksville reporter and denied ever
hitting Jackie with his car. Rogers told the reporter that he had last
seen Jackie on July 8, 1996, as she walked away from his car toward her
house. Rogers said he had told the police what they wanted to hear
because he was confused and frightened.
evidence that law enforcement officers had investigated three other
suspects in the case. Rogers also tried to point out discrepancies and
contradictions in the State’s evidence and offered proof that he was
looking for a job on the day the victim disappeared.
Three people testified
that Rogers applied for a job at a service station on Riverside Drive in
Clarksville around 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. on July 8, 1996. According to the
witnesses, he was driving a blue pickup truck and wearing a mechanic’s
On rebuttal, an
investigator with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department testified
that Rogers had never mentioned wearing a mechanic’s uniform or applying
for a job at a service station on July 8, 1996. Furthermore, there was
no evidence that Rogers ever drove a blue pickup truck.
Based upon the above
evidence, the jury convicted Rogers of first degree premeditated murder,
first degree felony murder in the perpetration of a kidnapping, first
degree felony murder in the perpetration of a rape, especially
aggravated kidnapping, rape of a child, and two counts of criminal
impersonation. The trial court merged the felony murder convictions with
the premeditated murder conviction. A sentencing hearing was conducted
to determine punishment.
During the sentencing
phase, the State presented proof that Rogers had pleaded guilty to two
counts of aggravated assault in Gwinnett County, Georgia, on April 12,
1991. A prosecutor from Gwinnett County testified that the statutory
elements of the offenses involved the use of violence to the person.
testified that she lost her job because she spent so much time searching
for Jackie after she disappeared. Jackie's mother stated that Jackie’s
brother felt guilty that he had not been there to save his sister.
Following Jackie’s murder, her brother had been placed in juvenile homes
and hospitalized for posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and
anxiety. His treatment had cost thousands of dollars. Jackie’s other
brother was angry and refused to discuss his sister’s death.
testified that she would never get over the loss of her only daughter
and felt powerless and devastated. Jackie's mother said she felt an
enormous amount of guilt. She described Jackie as an intelligent,
musically talented, happy child with many friends.
In mitigation, Rogers
presented the testimony of his older sister, his father and other family
members, and friends. Their testimony revealed that Rogers’ parents
first divorced in 1961 when Rogers’ sister was two years old. After
Rogers was born on March 24, 1962, his parents remarried. In 1964, his
mother left again and took the children with her. She later told her
husband that he was not Rogers’ biological father.
When Rogers was a young
child, his mother remarried to a man by whom she had two sons. Rogers’
mother and stepfather would argue and fight. The home was dirty and
unkempt. The stepfather also showed marked partiality toward Danny, Jr.
and David. Rogers' stepfather shunned Rogers’ attempts to be close to
him and physically and verbally abused Rogers.
Rogers was evaluated by
two mental health experts for the defense. A clinical psychologist
testified that Rogers’ unstable childhood bred insecurity and a sense of
abandonment. He opined that the physical, emotional, and sexual trauma
of Rogers’ childhood had permanently affected how Rogers’ brain
functioned and led to mood swings and violent behavior.
He also recounted that,
after leaving LTI in 1978, Rogers had been sent to the Oakley Training
School in Mississippi in 1979 and had been incarcerated as an adult in
Florida from 1981 to 1984, in Mississippi from 1984 to 1988, and in
Georgia from 1990 to 1994.
He diagnosed Rogers as
suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, depressive disorder not
otherwise specified (i.e., mild to moderate depression), dissociative
disorder not otherwise specified, and personality disorder not otherwise
specified with antisocial and borderline features (i.e., mixed
He explained that
persons suffering from dissociative disorder report having other
personalities and will withdraw from situations too traumatic to
experience. This type of behavior indicates severe childhood trauma.
Rogers reported two other identities: Billy or William Little and Roger.
Letters written by Rogers’ other personalities were introduced into
According to the
doctor, however, Rogers did not suffer from “full blown” dissociative
identity disorder, commonly known as split or multiple personalities.
Rogers had a Global Assessment of Functioning number of fifty, which
meant that he was severely impaired. Rogers’ verbal IQ was 95, his
performance IQ was 127, and his full-scale IQ was 108 and he found no
In rebuttal, the State
called Rogers' wife to introduce a letter in which Rogers told her that
he would not plead guilty to something that he had not done and stated,
“If I do get time, they will either kill me trying to escape or I’ll
kill myself.” Both Mrs. Rogers and Rogers’ former wife testified that
Rogers had never mentioned being physically or sexually abused as a
testified for the State that, based on his evaluations of Rogers and his
review of background information and interviews with Rogers’ wife,
Rogers suffered from a dissociative disorder not otherwise specified,
possible pedophilia, malingering, and antisocial personality disorder.
He stated that,
although Rogers suffered a mental disorder, he was able to appreciate
the wrongfulness of his misconduct and that in his opinion no connection
existed between the offense and Rogers’ dissociative disorder or
difficult childhood. The crime, the doctor said, was driven by Rogers’
antisocial personality disorder and pedophilia.
Based upon this proof,
the jury found that the State had proven beyond a reasonable doubt all
four statutory aggravating circumstances: the murder was committed
against a person less than twelve years of age and the defendant was
eighteen years of age or older; the defendant was previously convicted
of one or more felonies, other than the present charge, whose statutory
elements involve the use of violence; the murder was committed for the
purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or
prosecution of the defendant or another; and the murder was knowingly
committed, solicited, directed, or aided by the defendant, while the
defendant had a substantial role in the committing or attempting to
commit, or was fleeing after having a substantial role in committing or
attempting to commit, any rape or kidnapping.
The jury further found
that the State had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the statutory
aggravating circumstances outweighed any mitigating circumstances. As a
result, the jury sentenced Rogers to death for the murder of Jackie
Inmate Hopes DNA Testing Clears Him
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A death row inmate in
Tennessee will get another chance to prove his innocence.
DNA evidence could determine if William Glenn Rogers
killed a little Clarksville girl 12 years ago.
Rogers spoke exclusively with NewsChannel 5 from
death row Friday.
A Montgomery County judge ruled DNA from the case can
go back to the lab. It is a decision Rogers hopes will get him off death
In the summer of 1996, police searched for months for
9-year-old Jackie Beard.
Jackie disappeared in July 1996 while picking
blackberries near her home in Clarksville.
Four months later, police found her body and later
charged Rogers with kidnapping, raping and murdering her.
"Four thousand, five hundred three days," Rogers said.
That's how long he has spent on death row for the
crimes a jury convicted him of years ago.
But he believes DNA evidence will set him free.
"I'm hoping they'll prove that it's not mine. I
mean, I know it's not mine. I know it's not mine, that's the whole
thing about it," he said.
During his trial in 2000, DNA from semen stains found
on the girl's shorts were inconclusive.
More advanced testing available today could clear his
"I just hope the DNA test go deep enough to find out,
you know, separate these two or three samples they said they've got that
are mixed up. The reason it was inconclusive to begin with, which would
prove it's not mine," he said.
Police said Rogers admitted to killing Beard, saying
he ran over her before disposing her body.
But he has since said he never admitted to any of
that and that he didn't kill the girl.
"I just want to prove I didn't do this. I don't want
to die with a bad name," he said.
The 45-year-old man was supposed to die for his crime
in May, but Judge John Gasaway ordered a stay of execution so Rogers'
lawyers could plead their case for the new round of testing.
A hearing to go over the results of those new,
advanced, DNA tests is scheduled to begin in April. Gasaway also ruled
this week that the original lab that performed those DNA tests in 2000
will conduct the more advanced tests this time around.
Supreme Court Affirms Death Penalty
for Murder of Clarksville Child
Feb. 15, 2006
The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the
convictions and death sentence William Glenn Rogers received for
the 1996 rape and murder of 9-year-old Jacqueline Beard, who was
abducted as she picked blackberries near her Clarksville home.
“We have reviewed all of the issues raised by Rogers
and conclude that they do not warrant relief,” Justice Janice M. Holder
wrote for the majority. “Rogers’ convictions and sentence of death are
Chief Justice William M. Barker and Justices E. Riley
Anderson and Cornelia Clark joined Holder in the opinion, filed Friday,
which upheld a Court of Criminal Appeals decision in the case.
Rogers, who also was sentenced to 48 years in prison
for the kidnaping and rape, met his young victim while she and her
brother and cousin played near a mud puddle on July 3, 1996. He
identified himself as “Tommy Robertson” and said he was an undercover
police officer. He also told the girl’s mother, Jeannie Meyer, he was a
police officer before he left in his car.
Five days later, Rogers showed up at the Meyer home
and said he had lost a key. Shortly after he left, Jacqueline went
outside to pick blackberries. When she failed to return, her mother
searched the area and then notified authorities.
Rogers, 34 at the time, was first questioned on July
11. He told police several different stories, finally saying he had
accidently run over the child. He signed a statement saying he put her
in his car, drove to a bridge and threw her body into the Cumberland
Her skeletal remains and clothing were discovered
four months later in a wooded area of Stewart County. Human semen stains
and fibers consistent with carpet in Rogers’ house were discovered on
the shorts she had been wearing the day she disappeared.
“Rogers made several additional, sometimes
contradictory, statements about his involvement in the victim’s death,”
He was convicted of first degree premeditated murder,
first degree felony murder in the perpetration of a kidnaping, first
degree felony murder in the perpetration of a rape, especially
aggravated kidnaping, rape of a child and two counts of criminal
impersonation. The trial court merged the felony murder convictions with
the premeditated murder conviction.
During the sentencing phase of the trial, jurors
found four aggravating circumstances as defined by state law. They also
found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed mitigating evidence,
which included testimony that Rogers was physically and sexually abused
as a child.
In his automatic appeal, Rogers argued that the
evidence presented at his trial was insufficient to support his
“When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the
convicting evidence, the standard of appellate review is whether, after
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any
rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the
offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt,” Holder wrote. “… Viewing the
evidence in the light most favorable to the state, we conclude that the
proof points the finger of guilt unerringly at Rogers and Rogers alone.”
In a separate concurring and dissenting opinion,
Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr., wrote that he also would affirm Rogers’
convictions, but not the death sentence jurors imposed for the girl’s
“As to the sentence of death, however, I respectfully
dissent,” Birch wrote. “I continue to adhere to my view that the
comparative proportionality review protocol currently embraced by the
majority is inadequate to shield defendants from the arbitrary and
disproportionate imposition of the death penalty.”
By state law, the court is required to conduct
“proportionality review” when jurors sentence a defendant to death. The
review determines whether the sentence was arbitrarily imposed; whether
evidence supported the jury’s finding of statutorily-defined aggravating
circumstances and whether they outweighed mitigating circumstances; and
whether the death sentence was excessive or disproportionate to
penalties imposed in similar cases.
Holder wrote that the court conducted an “exhaustive
review” of the record in Rogers’ case and records concerning similar
crimes and defendants. The majority concluded that “the sentence of
death imposed in this case is not excessive or disproportionate,” she
The court set a June 28, 2006, execution date for
Rogers, who has state and federal appeals remaining.
William Glenn Rogers
Jackie Beard, 9