As the deadlocked jury was dismissed in the trial of Delaware resident Michael W. Rogers, at least half of them favored the defendant with a smile. Perhaps the prosecution hadn’t been sufficiently diligent in their efforts to purge the jury pool of decent and conscientious people. Another possibility is that half or more of the panel rebelled against the indecency of trying to imprison a 53-year-old man for the supposed offense of surviving a police officer’s attempt to murder him.
Last August, Rogers was asleep in the home he shares with his then-87-year-old mother, Lorraine, when Delaware State Trooper Matthew Morgan materialized on their doorstep. Morgan said that he wanted to question Rogers about a non-injury traffic accident that had occurred earlier that evening. Unfortunately, Lorraine – whose family includes law enforcement officers – let the 28-year-old stranger into the home, rather than ordering him away.
When Michael was told that a police officer wanted to speak with him, he replied that he needed to put his clothes on. In short order Morgan invited himself into Michael’s bedroom and assaulted him. When he failed to subdue the much older man, Morgan attempted to shoot him with a Taser, but the reliably lethal device had no effect.
Apparently frustrated over losing a fight, the costumed aggressor pulled his gun and pointed it at Michael and Lorraine.
“Don’t you shoot my mother!” exclaimed Michael. In reply Morgan emptied his clip, hitting Michael with six of nine rounds.
The victim was admitted to a local hospital in critical condition. While he was recovering from surgery, and his would-be murderer enjoyed a paid vacation, Michael was charged with second-degree “assault on a police officer” and “resisting arrest with violence” – both of which are felonies. Eventually the first charge was reduced to the third degree, making it a misdemeanor.
Morgan had initially said that his purpose in inflicting himself on the Rogers home was to write an $89 extortion note (more commonly called a “traffic citation”) for “inattentive driving.” The incident that gave rise to the visit involved a trivial fender-bender that resulted in minor damage to the ornamental filigree on a license plate frame. In any case, the traffic citation was never filed – which means that the only reason Michael Rogers was hauled into court was to face punishment for repelling Morgan’s initial aggression, and surviving the trooper’s unwarranted use of lethal force.
During the trial, Morgan maintained – perhaps we can say it together – that he “feared for his life,” and claimed that his victim had threatened him with a coffee table. No, really.
“I felt like I did what I had to do to save my life,” Morgan simpered on the witness stand, reciting from the police officer’s familiar catechism of self-justification — and ignoring the fact that if he truly felt threatened, leaving was always an option.
Lorraine Rogers, the only non-involved witness to the incident, told independent reporter Donald Ayotte that at one point Michael “flipped up” the coffee table out of frustration, but never made a MacGyver-esque attempt to weaponize the harmless piece of furniture.
In addition to living under the shadow of a second trial, Michael Rogers still carries one of Morgan’s bullets in his body. His assailant continues to collect a plunder-derived paycheck, and at some point may well receive a commendation for his actions in the Rogers household.9:25 pm on July 15, 2014 Email William Norman Grigg