Stephanie Lynn Rogers, the wife of former Monticello Mayor Joe Rogers, was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder solicitation.
Rogers is alleged to have requested or urged Mykayla Rawls to “engage in specific conduct to cause the purposeful death” of Joe Rogers and his ex-wife, Debbie Rogers, according to a criminal information filed Friday by 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen.
First-degree murder solicitation is a Class A felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. If convicted, Stephanie Rogers, 48, could be sentenced to a maximum 60-year prison sentence and fined $30,000.
“Solicitation to commit a criminal offense is by law punishable one grade lower than the offense solicited, in this case alleged to be first degree murder,” Deen said, explaining why it is a Class A felony.
Rogers has been held in the Drew County Detention Center since her arrest in October. Her bond was set at $500,000.
Details leading to Stephanie Rogers’ arrest
According to an October 2018 affidavit for a warrant for Stephanie Rogers’ arrest, Rogers allegedly attemped to have her husband and his ex-wife killed so that she could collect insurance money and her husband’s business.
On October 16, 2018, a confidential informant reported to the Monticello Police Department that Stephanie Rogers approached her about killing her husband’s ex-wife, Debbie Rogers.
The informant said Rogers also told her that she had previously attempted to loosen the lug nuts on her husband’s vehicle but he left their residence in another vehicle, according to the affidavit.
Rogers reportedly said she needed to have the ex-wife, Debbie Rogers, killed prior to her husband, Joe Rogers, because Debbie Rogers would be the recipient of life insurance policies and obtain control Joe Rogers’ business.
The informant stated that Rogers told her that after Debbie Rogers was killed, she (Stephanie) would “take care of Joe” then receive the insurance policies along with Joe Rogers’ business.
On October 17, the confidential informant contacted Stephanie Rogers and recorded the conversation. State Police Special Agent Bo Norris and Monticello Police Detective Kenny Cox were present when the the conversation was recorded.
In that conversation, the confidential informant told Rogers that she had an uncle that could “take out” Debbie Rogers. Rogers asked if the uncle could be trusted, according to the affidavit.
Stephanie Rogers advised the confidential informant that she would meet her after she got off work to discuss the details. Rogers noted that she had talked to someone else about doing it that weekend.
On October 17, at approximately 4:44 p.m., Rogers arrived at the confidential informant’s place of employment. The conversation between Rogers and the confidential informant was video and audio recorded.
During the recorded conversation, Rogers asked the informant if her uncle could be trusted to kill Debbie Rogers. She said she wanted Debbie Rogers’ death to look like a robbery at her residence and wanted Joe Rogers’ death to “look like an accident, end of story,” and “that she can handle that one.”
Rogers continued questioning the confidential informant about her uncle, asking how would he do kill Debbie Rogers. Rogers said she thinks the best way to do it is to make it look like a robbery at Debbie Rogers’ house. She said Debbie Rogers would go to church that night, October 17, implying that it should be done that night, according to the affidavit.
She also asked the confidential informant what her uncle would want in return if he “just did Debbie.”
Rogers strongly expressed that she needed to know when it was going to be done and that she was “ready for this lady to be gone,” according to the affidavit.
Rogers then described Debbie Rogers’ residence, the directions, the number of doors residence and what type of vehicle she drives.
Special Agent Norris and Detective Cox met with the confidential informant again on October 18. The confidential informant contacted Stephanie Rogers by text message and informed her that her uncle wanted to discuss details with her. Rogers then called the confidential informant and stated that she did not want to meet with him face-to-face and was concerned about how much it was going to cost. Rogers then stated that she “would just go the other route.”
Stephanie Rogers was arrested on October 18, 2018 for her actions between October 16 and October 18.
Rogers was employed by the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center in Warren, involved in youth programs in Monticello, and ran for a seat on the Monticello City Council in 2016. She was not successful in her election bid.