Sex-Offending Homeless Man Arrested for Killing of Elderly Woman
By Jesse B. Gill
Police arrested 57-year-old Jerome Rogers, a San Bernardino homeless man, and prosecutors charged him with Blaskey’s murder. He’s being held on $1 million bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.
Police Chief Rob Handy said Monday that his investigators are still on the hunt for at least one other suspect in the killing.
One of Blaskey’s two sons arrived at her San Bernardino home on Fremontia Drive that morning, a Wednesday, to take her to a doctor’s appointment. He found her dead. Police immediately said there was evidence of foul play, saying her house had been thoroughly ransacked.
On a website set up to honor Blaskey’s memory and plead for information leading to her killer, Blaskey’s sons wrote “The killer took a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff and her Lexus ES300. Police found the car Dec. 1 in a parking lot near University Avenue and Kendall Drive in north San Bernardino.
Blaskey’s sons buried their mother Dec. 8. On the website they set up, they wrote, “It is not possible to convey the depth of our sorrow and sadness at losing our mom, or the horror that someone as warm and wonderful as Mary Beth should die a cruel, wrongful death.”
Investigators arrested Rogers about 4:30pm Friday. Police say part of his schtick was going door-to-door, offering to do odd jobs for people. He is also a convicted sex offender.
He was one of about 70 people rounded up by police for questioning. He denied having anything to do with Blaskey’s death, but investigators did some science that disputed his testimony, officials said.
Detectives pulled DNA from Blaskey’s home that pointed to Rogers as a suspect. How did police get that DNA? Officials wouldn’t elaborate, but said Blaskey’s death involved “sexual crimes.” They didn’t elaborate about that either, but you can probably do the math from there.
Until last week (and assuming police arrested the right guy), Blaskey’s killing was one of four unsolved homicides of elderly San Bernardino women, all killed in home invasion robberies.
A family member found 86-year-old Wanda Lee Paulin dead Dec. 12 2010 inside her home on North Mountain View Avenue. Police later ruled her death a homicide, though no arrests were made, no suspects were named.
Josephine Frances Kelley, 90, was found dead Sept. 15, 2005, inside her home on Muscupiabe Drive. Police found the home ransacked and Kelley’s hands and feet bound as she lied on her bed. An autopsy later showed she was smothered.
Doctors pronounced 84-year-old Lorna Gable dead Feb. 15, almost a month after she called 911 reporting a break-in at her home on West 40th Street. The intruder, a man, beat Gable with a Maglite, attacked her husband and stole cash and other items before fleeing, according to police.
The circumstances in each woman’s violent death are strikingly similar, and on Monday, Handy told reporters that his detectives are working to find connections (if any exist) between Blaskey’s death and those of at least Paulin and Gable.
Handy mentioned that investigators believed from the start that the killings might be connected, but would not confirm if there is any evidence yet to suggest that they are.
In January, San Bernardino Police Chief Rob Handy announced a $10,000 reward for information in each of the deaths of each of the women.
On Monday, Handy said the rewards were still viable for each of the outstanding killings, including Blaskey’s.
Anyone with information is urged to call the San Bernardino Police Department.