William Rodgers

William Rodgers
Crime: Murder

Sherri Ann Rodgers of Mount Vernon, Washington was only 48 when she died, but she sure packed a lot of living into her life. She got her BA and Masters in Environmental Sciences, and a Doctorate in Marine Biology. She worked as a professor at Skagit Valley Community College part time, and as manager at a Hallmark store full time. She was married with 3 grown children and a beautiful grandchild.

I found Sherri Rodgers’ website called Sherri’s (Never a Dull Moment) World, and I just fell in love with the woman she was. I mean it. She loved family and friends, animals, food, movies and games, and she loved them with everything in her. She was so enthusiastic, active, adventurous and fun that I wish I’d known her myself. I wish I’d been able to enjoy the lively and warm spirit that she was.

The last post on her website was in June 2011. On June 14, 2011 Sherri Rodgers wrote about her husband Bill’s birthday, and her absolute love for the man. “Though we are both grown up now and working professionals…. I am still the nerdy geek and he is my all-star athlete. I love you, Bill Rodgers. I am so happy you were born to make my life complete,” she wrote.

I gather that after the last post Sherri Rodger’s life began to fall apart. She’d discovered that her husband, William Rodgers, was having an affair with a work colleague. He’d convinced her that it was an “emotional affair”. The woman involved described it as a romantic affair. Whether it was sexual or not, it was certainly obsessive.

William Rodgers worked with his love interest at Stanwood Middle School — he taught 8th grade and she was a paraeducator. For 8 months they wrote nearly 1200 emails to each other. There were also love notes they passed to each other at work.

Knowing that his wife knew about his love interest didn’t stop William Rodgers from carrying on with the relationship. How painful that last year must have been for Sherri Rodgers. Her close-knit family life was being torn apart, and the man she considered her life partner was rejecting her and choosing another.

In May 2012 Sherri Rodgers spoke with her daughter, Natasha, about the possibility of leaving her marriage. Little did either woman know that William Rodgers was also considering ending the marriage — but he wasn’t thinking in terms of divorce.

Why the hell wouldn’t the bastard consider divorce? Was it because he didn’t want to lose the house or compromise his standard of living? The kids already knew about his girlfriend, so it’s not like he was keeping his “emotional affair” a secret from them.

Maybe William Rodgers wanted to keep his affair a secret from his coworkers. Maybe he wanted to protect his girlfriend’s reputation. Then again maybe he had grown to hate his wife. Maybe he just wanted her dead.

On May 27, 2012, William Rodgers went on the Internet and Googled “how to break a neck” and “how dangerous is it to fall down stairs”. On May 28, 2012 — Memorial Day — William Rodgers phoned 911 to report his wife had fallen down the stairs and wasn’t breathing.

Bill and Sherri Rodgers

Bill and Sherri Rodgers in happier times

Sherri Rodgers, that brilliant, vibrant woman, was declared dead at the scene by emergency responders.

Mount Vernon police officers arrived at the home in the 3600 block of Woodland Place and found William Rodgers acting distraught. He told them he hadn’t heard his wife scream or fall. He also told them she must have lost her balance while carrying scuba equipment up the stairs.

Within hours William Rodgers was being interviewed by detectives at the Mount Vernon Police Department. That’s where he was when he phoned daughter Natasha to tell her her mom was dead. Son Nicholas was serving in the US Army in Korea when he heard the horrible news from his father.

As upsetting and tragic as the phone conversations were, they would have been more so had the children been able to see their father’s face. It bore scratch marks, as did his neck and arms.

William Rodgers claimed he was scratched by the family dog. Riiight. Daughter Natasha didn’t believe that claim. “When I saw those scratches, the very first thought [I had] was: those are fingernails,” she said.

William Rodgers, 50, was arrested and charged with murder in July 2012 after it was determined that Sherri Rodgers hadn’t died from a fall down the stairs. She’d been strangled to death.

Damn, after living for 30 years with his wife who adored him and raising 3 children together, that’s what William Rodgers did to her. And Sherri Rodgers knew exactly who was killing her, and she managed to put up a fight and scratch the bastard.

William Rodgers went to trial in Skagit County Superior Court in October 2014, charged with 1 count of 1st-degree murder. He pled not guilty.

Two of the 3 Rodgers offspring testified. Natasha Rodgers told the court that her dad had texted her at 7 a.m. the morning her mom died. He had uncharacteristically gone into a lot of detail about his plans for the day.

Nicholas Rodgers testified that when he spoke to his parents the night before his mom died, his dad had provided a lot of detail about what he was going to do the next day. This was uncharacteristic of his father.

“Inside my heart, it makes me feel like there was an agenda there, like he was trying to pitch his alibi,” Nicholas Rodgers told the court.

County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich had plenty of evidence to present to the jury. The scratches on the defendant’s face, head, neck and arms; the love notes and emails between William Rodgers and his lady friend, and of course the Google searches about breaking necks and falling down the stairs.

Defense attorney Craig Cahoon trotted out a different theory of events, saying that Sherri Rodgers fell down the stairs and landed with her head pinned to her chest, causing her to die of “positional asphyxiation”.

And why was she falling down the stairs? Well, according to the defense, Sherri Rodgers had slapped William Rodgers’ face and that triggered a flashback to his military service and/or childhood sexual abuse. He attacked his wife and she tried to escape from him, and that’s how she fell down the stairs.

William Rodgers in courtAnd poor William Rodgers with his post-traumatic stress disorder had no memory at all of what had actually happened. It was all just a moment of insanity.

Deputy Prosecutor Sloan Johnson said in his rebuttal that this defense theory was just “another story”. The pathologist who performed the autopsy did not say the victim had died of asphyxiation, positional or otherwise. She had died by strangulation.

On October 31, 2014, the Skagit County Superior Court jury found William Rodgers guilty of 1st-degree murder. The convicted killer faces up to 28 years in prison. He will be sentenced at the end of 2014 or in 2015. I shall keep readers posted — reminders are welcome.

Craig Cahoon said he and his client were considering an appeal. I truly hope that Sherri Rodgers’ family and friends are not put through the ordeal of a trial again. I extend to them my heartfelt condolences. I truly feel like I missed out by not knowing that wonderful, delightful woman.

William Rodgers will hopefully have decades in prison to think about his fate. He had a loving wife, a loving family, a good career, a nice home, a comfortable life, and now he has nothing. Why he’d decided Sherri Rodgers had to die I don’t know or understand. I guess he’s just a phenomenally stupid and selfish man. I hope he gets the maximum sentence.

RIP, Sherri Rodgers.

UPDATE
William Rodgers was sentenced on January, 5th 2015 to more than 26 years in prison. Thanks to Gerry for the reminder!

GoSkagit.com article – arrest
GoSkagit.com article – psychiatrist testifies
GoSkagit.com article – children testify
GoSkagit.com article – jury deliberation
GoSkagit.com article – guilty verdict
Bellingham Herald article – conviction
Seattle CBS Local news article – Google searches
GoSkagit.com article – sentencing

9 Responses to William Rodgers

  1. MoodyMagic says:

    What a sick bastard. What was wrong with a divorce. My sympathies to Sherri and all her family and friends. I hope he rots in prison.

  2. 2cute says:

    The girlfriend should at least be ashamed of herself because she had to know he was a married man and she still carried on with him. It wasn’t a one-sided relationship at all. If she’d told him to f*ck off when he approached her, or if she hadn’t approached him, then Sherri Rodgers would still be enjoying her life.

  3. awesomeblossom says:

    How absolutely horrible for the children, to learn their mom was murdered, to realize their dad was the killer, and to have to testify against him in court. My hearts go out to them.

  4. bulldoggy says:

    Hard to believe the asshole proceeded with his fall-down-the-stairs bullshit even when he was scratched all to hell. And why did he strangle her instead of breaking her neck? Good thing Sherri put up such a fight. Tragic to think her last few minutes alive were spent fighting off the man she’d thought was her soul mate.

  5. PJ says:

    Cheating bastard! His girlfriend should be named and shamed I think because she had an affair with a married man and destroyed his marriage. RIP Sherri. I feel so bad for the children losing both their parents in such horrible circumstances.

  6. Gerry says:

    It’s so sad reading Sherri’s blog and getting a feeling for her life and interests only to realize that she’s gone by the hands of her husband (who is pictured in her blog alot).

  7. Gerry says:

    Here’s another GoSkagit.com article, which is giving some small insights into the affair with the married paraeducator: http://m.goskagit.com/news/crime/rodgers-trial-testimony-keeps-focus-on-marital-issues/article_7afa08f6-5a3c-11e4-8a47-37ef7deeba2f.html?mode=jqm

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