21 year old Karen Marie Lauffenburger was an interior design student
at Oklahoma State University, and worked part-time delivering pizzas
for Buy 'N Bye Pizza.
She was last seen alive on December 19, 1990 on her way to deliver a
pizza to the home of Audra Lynn Todd, the girlfriend of Kelly Lamont
A short time later, she was found dead in her apartment by her
boyfriend, stabbed 9 times in the chest, neck and abdomen. She had
also been sexually assaulted.
Investigators found bank records showing that Lauffenburger's bank
account had practically been emptied at an ATM machine between the
time she left to deliver the pizza and when her body was found.
At trial, Todd testified that Rogers told her he was going to rob
the pizza delivery person. She told the court that Rogers bought
crack cocaine and drank wine after telling her he had just killed "a
Todd was originally charged with Murder, but she entered a guilty
plea to Robbery and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Along
with the death sentence, he received 325 years in prison (150 years
for rape, 75 years for robbery, 50 years for robbery of the pizza
money and 50 years for stealing her car).
Prosecutors said Rogers raped Lauffenburger while she was alive and
again after she was stabbed. Rogers had been previously convicted of
Forgery and Escape (1988) and Robbery (1986). At the time of the
murder, Rogers had been out of prison just five weeks.
Rogers, from Bartlesville, was sentenced to death
for the Dec. 19, 1990, murder of Lauffenburger at her apartment in
Stillwater. Lauffenburger was found dead a short time after
delivering a pizza to Rogers' girlfriend's apartment. The 21-year-old
Oklahoma State University student had been stabbed 9 times in the
chest, neck and abdomen.
Investigators found bank records showing that
Lauffenburger's bank account had practically been emptied at an ATM
machine between the time she left to deliver the pizza and when her
body was found.
At trial, Rogers' girlfriend, Audra Lynn Todd,
testified that Rogers told her he was going to rob the pizza
delivery person. She told the court that Rogers bought crack cocaine
and drank wine after telling her he had just killed "a pizza girl."
Lauffenburger had worked part time for about 5
weeks for Buy 'N Bye Pizza when she was killed. A jury of 6 women
and 6 men took 80 minutes to convict the 23-year-old Rogers of
kidnapping, rape and murder charges in December of 1991.
the death sentence, he received 325 years in prison -- 150 years for
rape, 75 years for robbery, 50 years for robbery of the pizza money
and 50 years for stealing Lauffenburger's car. Prosecutors said
Rogers raped Lauffenburger while she was alive and again after she
UPDATE: 03/23/00 - Several of Lauffenburger's
relatives, including her parents, witnessed the execution. A lengthy
letter written by the victim's mother, Pat Lauffenburger, was
distributed by death penalty supporters outside the prison walls. "To
our misfortune, you never knew our Karen," the letter read. "By this
letter, I hope to give you a small picture of this girl we were
proud to call daughter and what her life was like before Rogers
ended it that December."
Death Penalty Institute of
Kelly Lamont Rogers - Executed March 23, 2000.
Kelly Lamont Rogers, 31, was executed by lethal injection at
Oklahoma State Penitentiary shortly after midnight on Thursday,
March 23, 2000. Rogers was pronounced dead at 12:27am.
Payne County death row inmate, was sentenced to death for the
December 19, 1990 stabbing death of Oklahoma State University
student Karen Marie Lauffenburger, 21. Lauffenburger was found dead
in her Stillwater apartment by her boyfriend.
Rogers was also
convicted of raping and robbing Lauffenburger. He received a
sentence of 325 years for these convictions.
Rogers' girlfriend, Audra Lynn Todd, was charged
with second degree murder in connection with Lauffenburger's death.
Todd agreed to testify against Rogers in exchange for the murder
charge against her being dropped. Todd was sentenced to 10 years for
a conviction of robbery in the case.
Rogers was the fourth person put to death by the
state this year. He was also the 23rd person and the sixth African-American
to be executed by Oklahoma since it resumed capital punishment in
Rogers was executed after spending just over eight years on
death row. Aside from inmates who have dropped their appeals, this
was the shortest time from conviction to execution for anyone in
Oklahoma since the death penalty resumed.
Clemency Denied on March 1 - The Oklahoma Pardon
and Parole Board held a clemency hearing for Rogers at 1:00pm on
Wednesday, March 1, 2000, at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in
McAlester. The Board rejected Rogers' clemency bid in a 4-0 vote.
Prayer Vigils and Protests - Prayer vigils and
protests were held at various locations around the state.
Okla. Executes Man for 1990 Pizza Killing
Robbed and Raped Student Making Delivery
March 23, 2000
McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- A man
convicted of raping and fatally stabbing an Oklahoma State
University student who delivered him pizza a decade ago was executed
by injection early today. Kelly Lamont Rogers, 31, had admitted to
killing Karen Lauffenburger in 1990.
In the death chamber, he smiled and turned to his
family to tell them he loved them. "To the Lauffenburger family, I
just pray you guys will find peace and that God will heal you from
the inside out," he said.
Lauffenburger, a 21-year-old interior
design student, was killed the night of Dec. 19, 1990, after
delivering a pizza to the apartment of Rogers' girlfriend, Audra
'A final act of justice'
Todd testified that Rogers told her he planned to
rob the person who delivered the pizza. After the delivery, court
records show, Rogers robbed Lauffenburger at knifepoint, forced her
to withdraw $175 from her bank account at an automated teller
machine, then made her drive to her apartment.
There, he stabbed her
to death and raped her as she was either dead or dying, records
showed. Lauffenburger's parents, Ray and Pat Lauffenburger, released
a statement in which they expressed sympathy for Rogers' family, but
called the execution a "final act of justice." "Our family has been
constantly reminded of her absence with each passing year during
celebrations of holidays, birthdays and special family gatherings,"
the statement said. "We miss her terribly and will continue to do so
on a daily basis."
March 23, 2000
A decade after murdering a Stillwater college
student, Kelly Lamont Rogers was punished for his crime Thursday
morning. The 32-year-old Rogers was executed at the Oklahoma State
Penitentiary for the 1990 murder of Karen Marie Lauffenburger.
Rogers died by lethal injection shortly after midnight. The U.S.
Supreme Court rejected Rogers' final appeal in January and the
Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board denied him clemency earlier this
Several of Lauffenburger's relatives, including
her parents, witnessed the execution. A lengthy letter written by
the victim's mother, Pat Lauffenburger, was distributed by death
penalty supporters outside the prison walls. "To our misfortune, you
never knew our Karen," the letter read. "By this letter, I hope to
give you a small picture of this girl we were proud to call daughter
and what her life was like before Rogers ended it that December."
A student at Oklahoma State University,
Lauffenburger was working as a pizza delivery person at the time of
her murder. After she delivered a pizza to Rogers at his
girlfriend's apartment, Rogers followed Lauffenburger and robbed her
of $40 in pizza money.
He then took her to an ATM and made her
withdraw $175, almost all of her available cash. Rogers then took
Lauffenburger, 21, to her apartment, where he raped and murdered her.
The execution marks the 1st for Oklahoma under
new state and federal laws aimed at speeding up the appeal process.
Rogers' stay on death row is one of the shortest -- 8 years -- for
inmates seeking all their appeal rights.
Rogers becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put
to death this year in Oklahoma and the 23rd overall since the state
resumed capital punishment in 1990. Rogers also becomes the 27th
condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the
625th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.
A Final Act of Justice; Kelly Lamont Rogers is
By Quannah Leonard -
The Daily O'Collegian
March 23, 2000
McALESTER — Kelly Lamont Rogers used the last
minutes of his life to thank his family and wish peace for his
victim’s family. Rogers’ execution for murdering the 21-year-old
Oklahoma State University student Karen Marie Lauffenburger began at
12:23 this morning at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
A minute before the lethal injection, Rogers, 31, thanked his family members
with a smile and told them he loved them. His arms, legs and chest
were already strapped to a table. Next, he turned to the
Lauffenburger family. “To the Lauffenburger family, I just pray you
guys will find peace and in time, God will heal you from inside and
out.” Rogers’ statement lasted about one minute. Near the end, he
addressed every witness. “And for those who might not know Jesus, I
just ask that you know him, trust him as your Lord and Savior,”
Rogers said. “He will get you through, just give him a chance.”
Executioners then began to administer the drugs.
Prisoners are issued three drugs for lethal injection. The first
drug causes unconsciousness, the second stops respiration and the
third stops the heart. Soon after injection, a minister began
reading the Bible.
Rogers smile gradually faded and he blew out of
his puffed cheeks twice. Next his throat twitched, and he did not
move for about two minutes. At 12:26, his chest heaved more than 12
times. And then he stopped moving. Rogers was pronounced dead at
12:27 this morning.
Lauffenburger’s uncle, brother, fiance and two
pastors, who all wished to go unnamed, and her mother and father,
Pat and Ray, witnessed Rogers’ death. Five of Rogers’ supporters,
whose names were not revealed, also witnessed the execution.
last meal consisted of five drumsticks, four thighs, mashed potatoes
and gravy, slaw, a large Sprite and double chocolate cake. In a
statement released before the execution, Lauffenburger’s mother and
father sent their sympathies to Rogers’ family. “With this final act
of justice by the State of Oklahoma, it is our hope that both
families, ours and theirs, will find healing and some peace of mind,”
Rogers was convicted of first-degree murder for
killing Lauffenburger Dec. 19, 1990. Lauffenburger, who worked for a
pizza restaurant, was delivering a pizza to Rogers’ girlfriend,
Audra Lynn Todd, when she was robbed at knifepoint and forced to her
Rogers raped and stabbed her multiple times to death.
Rogers was convicted Dec. 18, 1991. His final appeal was denied in
January, and the state Pardon and Parole Board denied him clemency
earlier this month. Rogers told the clemency board he was sorry for
killing Lauffenburger, and if he could replace her life with his, he
would do it.
Man Who Raped, Murdered Student Executed
The Daily Ardmoreite
March 23, 2000
McALESTER (AP) -- Moments before he was executed,
Kelly Lamont Rogers smiled at witnesses and asked God to heal the
family of the young woman he stabbed to death and raped in 1990.
Rogers, 31, received a lethal mix of drugs at the
Oklahoma State Penitentiary and was pronounced dead at 12:27 this
morning. He acknowledged robbing, raping and killing Karen Marie
Lauffenburger, a 21-year-old student at Oklahoma State University,
after she delivered him a pizza on the night of Dec. 19, 1990. ''To
the Lauffenburger family, I just pray you guys will find peace and
that God will heal you from the inside out,'' Rogers said. ''And for
those who might not know Jesus, I just ask that you know him and
trust him as your Lord and savior. He will get you through.''
Several members of Rogers' and Lauffenburger's
families witnessed the execution and sat stone-faced throughout.
After the drugs began to flow, Rogers' smile quickly faded. He
blinked, blew twice through puffed cheeks and fell motionless a
Another minute passed before his chest came alive in a
series of a dozen heaves, which faded with each convulsion. Rogers
again fell still and was pronounced dead four minutes after the
Lauffenburger's parents issued a statement
expressing sympathy for Rogers' family, but calling the execution a
''final act of justice.'' ''Our family has been constantly reminded
of her absence with each passing year during celebrations of
holidays, birthdays and special family gatherings,'' said the
statement by Ray and Pat Lauffenburger. ''We miss her terribly and
will continue to do so on a daily basis.'' At the time of her murder,
Lauffenburger studied interior design at OSU and delivered pizzas
part time. She made her last delivery to the apartment of Rogers'
girlfriend, Audra Todd.
In Rogers' trial, Todd testified that Rogers had
told her he planned to rob the person who delivered the pizza. After
the delivery, court records show Rogers followed Lauffenburger out
of the apartment and robbed her of $40 at knifepoint. He then forced
her to drive him to her apartment to get her ATM card, and had her
withdraw $175 from her bank account with it.
Afterward, he made her
return to her apartment where he stabbed her to death and raped her
as she was either dead or dying. Rogers had been out of prison just
five weeks when he murdered Lauffenburger. He had previous
convictions for armed robbery, forgery and escaping from a penal
Rogers spent fewer than 10 years on death row,
with the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting his final appeal in January
and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board denying him clemency
earlier this month. No emergency appeals were filed to try and put a
last-minute stop to his execution.
In the hours before his death,
Rogers visited with family members and was offered a shower and a
fresh set of clothes before he was led to the death chamber. Earlier
in the day, he ate a last meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and
gravy, coleslaw and Sprite.
Rogers is the 106th inmate executed in Oklahoma
and the 23rd executed by the state since the U.S. Supreme Court
reinstated the death penalty in 1977. He was the fourth Oklahoma
death row inmate executed this year, with three more scheduled for
execution in the coming months.
Rogers v. State,
890 P.2d 959 (Okl.Cr. 1995) (Direct Appeal).
Kelly Lamont Rogers was tried by jury before the
Honorable Donald L. Worthington in the District Court of Payne
County. In Case No. CRF-90-412 he was convicted of First Degree
Malice Aforethought Murder in violation of 21 O.S.1991, § 701.7 he
was convicted of First Degree Robbery, 21 O.S.1991, § 801 , in CRF-91-26
and CRF-91-27; First Degree Rape, 21 O.S.1991, §§ 1111 in CRF-91-28;
and Larceny of a Motor Vehicle, 21 O.S.1991, § 1720 <, in CRF-91-29,
all after conviction of two or more felonies.
The jury found 1) the murder was especially
heinous, atrocious, or cruel; 2) there was a probability that Rogers
would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a
continuing threat to society; and 3) Rogers had previously been
convicted of a felony involving violence. Rogers was sentenced to
death for the murder conviction, fifty years and seventy-five years
for each robbery charge respectively, one hundred fifty years for
rape, and fifty years incarceration for larceny. From these
convictions Rogers has perfected his appeal, raising eleven
propositions of error.
On December 19, 1990, Rogers and his girlfriend,
Audra Todd, ordered a pizza from Pizza Express. Karen Lauffenburger,
a student at Oklahoma State University, delivered the pizza to
Todd's apartment. After receiving the pizza, Rogers followed
Lauffenburger, robbed her of her $40.00 Pizza Express "bank" and
demanded more money. They drove to Lauffenburger's apartment, where
she got her automatic teller machine (ATM) bank card.
Next, they drove to a nearby ATM, and she first
enquired about her bank balance, then withdrew all her money. The
two returned to Lauffenburger's apartment. Lauffenburger's fiancee,
Peter Gilmartin, found her there nude at approximately 10:00 p.m.,
dead from nine stab wounds in the chest, neck and abdomen.
At some point during the evening Lauffenburger
was raped. Sperm consistent with Rogers (but inconsistent with
Gilmartin) was found on vaginal swabs, Lauffenburger's panties and
jeans. She had peri- or postmortem vaginal injuries consistent with
nonconsensual sexual intercourse.
Rogers was subsequently arrested and questioned.
He eventually admitted stabbing Lauffenburger but insisted that they
had consensual sexual intercourse.
Rogers v. Gibson,
173 F.3d 1278 (10th Cir. 1999) (Habeas).
At approximately 10:15 p.m. on December 19, 1990,
Lauffenburger's fiance discovered Lauffenburger's nude body in her
apartment in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Lauffenburger, a part-time pizza
delivery person, had disappeared that evening while delivering
pizzas in the Stillwater area.
After she failed to return from a delivery, Eric
Zanotelli, the manager of the pizza restaurant where she worked,
became concerned and attempted to locate her. He retraced her route
and drove to the location of her last delivery, an apartment rented
to Audra Lynn Todd. Petitioner lived with Todd and is the father of
her three children. Todd told Zanotelli that Lauffenberger had
delivered the pizza and left. Concerned, Zanotelli called
Lauffenburger's fiance who went to Lauffenburger's apartment and
discovered the body.
The events leading up to Lauffenburger's murder
transpired as follows. After Lauffenburger delivered the pizza to
Todd's apartment around 7:00 p.m., Petitioner took a knife from
Todd's apartment, followed Lauffenburger and robbed her of $40.00.
Petitioner and Lauffenburger then drove to her
apartment where Petitioner raped her. After the rape, Petitioner
drove Lauffenburger to a nearby automated teller machine, where she
withdrew $175.00 from her account at 7:52 p.m. Petitioner then
returned Lauffenburger to her apartment and murdered her.
After the murder, Petitioner drove, in
Lauffenburger's car, to the vicinity of Todd's apartment where
Lauffenburger's 1984 Toyota Tercel, keys and identification were
found at 5:15 a.m. the next morning.
On December 20, 1990, Defendant was charged by
Information with first degree murder for Lauffenburger's death. The
court declared Petitioner indigent on December 26, 1990, and
appointed counsel the same day.
On January 29, 1991, Petitioner was charged by
Information with two counts of robbery by force, first degree rape,
and larceny of a motor vehicle. Defendant was tried before a jury
and convicted on all counts.
In the penalty phase, the jury found three
aggravating factors: (1) the murder was especially heinous,
atrocious, or cruel; (2) Petitioner posed a continuing threat to
society; and (3) Petitioner had previously been convicted of a
felony involving violence. The jury recommended the death penalty,
and the trial court sentenced Petitioner to death for the murder