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'Gay Panic' Surfaces as Motive Behind 1977 Chicago Murder

After 30 years on the run, accused teenage killer Fred Rogers was nabbed by police in March, arrested for allegedly killing his high school classmate Kenny Hellstrom. In a court hearing on Tuesday, authorities learned that Rogers stabbed Hellstrom because he made a sexual advance:

Hellstrom"Rogers, arrested in March this year and charged as a juvenile with first degree murder after three decades on the run in Tennessee and Pennsylvania, is accused of repeatedly stabbing 15-year-old Hellstrom as Hellstrom walked home from his part-time job at a Homewood gas station. Hellstrom managed to make it back to his home but died in his mother's arms soon after. Rogers, who left town the night of the murder, was always a suspect in the case, but over the years, detectives also interviewed serial killer John Wayne Gacy and looked for links to a male prostitute ring Hellstrom had testified against in court. On Tuesday, Assistant State's Attorney Nick D'Angelo testified that Rogers had confessed after his arrest in March on a routine traffic stop less than a mile from the murder scene. In a videotaped interview, Rogers said he had arranged to meet Hellstrom when Hellstrom finished work to 'smoke a joint together,' D'Angelo said. But Rogers said when the teens met in a parking lot behind a church, Hellstrom twice made 'sexual advances' toward him, D'Angelo said. The first time, Rogers said, he pushed him away, but after Hellstrom told him 'he knew he liked it,' Rogers became angry and stabbed Hellstrom, D'Angelo said."

Rogers and Hellstrom had reportedly shared a girlfriend. Rogers is now fighting an attempt to have his case transferred from a juvenile to an adult court.

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  1. Good to see that some old murders are solved, even though many years have gone by. Local police agencies often overlook sexual orientation as a motivational element in violent crimes. Police must look past common societal pressures, personal bias & discomfort, and work at solving all cases equally on behalf of the victim. "Gay rage" doesn't work as a defense then or now, and prosecutors must explore possibility that a relationship existed between victim & offender. The suspect surrendered his right of being treated as a juvenile by hiding for 30 years, so I hope he will be judged as an adult.

    Posted by: Bob Zuley | Aug 29, 2007 1:26:31 PM


  2. Don't believe the word of an admitted killer. He KILLED a person! He ran away from the crime for 30 years. You think that makes him trustworthy??? Why should anyone believe him? Lock up the murderer and put him away for life.

    Posted by: Don't you dare! | Aug 29, 2007 1:26:44 PM


  3. Good to see that some old murders are solved, even though many years have gone by. Local police agencies often overlook sexual orientation as a motivational element in violent crimes. Police must look past common societal pressures, personal bias & discomfort, and work at solving all cases equally on behalf of the victim. "Gay rage" doesn't work as a defense then or now, and prosecutors must explore possibility that a relationship existed between victim & offender. The suspect surrendered his right of being treated as a juvenile by hiding for 30 years, so I hope he will be judged as an adult.

    Posted by: Bob Zuley | Aug 29, 2007 1:26:58 PM


  4. Good to see that some old murders are solved, even though many years have gone by. Local police agencies often overlook sexual orientation as a motivational element in violent crimes. Police must look past common societal pressures, personal bias & discomfort, and work at solving all cases equally on behalf of the victim. "Gay rage" doesn't work as a defense then or now, and prosecutors must explore possibility that a relationship existed between victim & offender. The suspect surrendered his right of being treated as a juvenile by hiding for 30 years, so I hope he will be judged as an adult.

    Posted by: Bob Zuley | Aug 29, 2007 1:27:49 PM


  5. Http://www.mediacruiser.org

    A unique, queer look at the media.

    Let's go cruising!

    Posted by: Media Cruiser | Aug 29, 2007 2:02:21 PM


  6. I hope the guy comes forward to sue Tucker for assault and battery so I can take that case pro bono.

    Posted by: MP | Aug 29, 2007 2:07:34 PM


  7. MP
    I agree,and you already have a witness,Tucker's friend.Unless the friend also assaulted the guy.

    Posted by: Greg2 | Aug 29, 2007 2:29:12 PM


  8. Well MP....I'll take Tuckers case pro bono. Sexual assult against a minor is far more damaging and disgusting than assult by a minor on an adult that had just grabbed the underage boys dick. Wanna bet on who wins???

    Posted by: Joshua | Aug 29, 2007 8:39:08 PM


  9. joshua, leona helmsley has some kibble for you.

    Posted by: sean | Aug 29, 2007 11:45:01 PM


  10. I can't believe any attorney, in 2007, would attempt to use this hoary old chestnut...the gay panic defense is no defense at all.

    Posted by: Farrish Carter | Aug 30, 2007 1:14:06 AM


  11. Gosh, Leona Helmsley's face is so damn ugly it begs for a pie in the face, were she alive today...vile bitch.

    Posted by: Nikko | Aug 30, 2007 1:57:50 AM


  12. My heart goes out to the Hellstrom Family, at least they can now have some closure. I graduated from Homewood Flossmoor H.S. in 1978 and I knew both Ken Hellstrom (since James Hart Jr. High.) I also knew Fred Rogers. He resided in "Shack Town" off of Crawford and at the time there were rumors that he was involved in the murder. Some of the newspaper facts are incorrect. After the murder, I do not recall Fred leaving Illinois, he used to hang around my house quite frequently to listen to my brothers' rock band. Fred was involved with the guitarist in my brothers' band. The photo in the newspapers is of Ken with his girlfriend Sue W.(also of my graduating class). She resided around the block from me. The law is the law! There needs to be a precedent set (to change the law) in Springfield, Illinois, the state Capitol so that Juveniles who commit murders in the state of Illinois are tried as adults, other than that, Fred will most likely be tried as a juvenile until this law is modified.
    Also, please note "for the record" that the Homewood and or Glenwood Police Dept. picked up my 15 year old brother (without my parents consent) in 1977 and put him in a police line up with Gary Datson for the alleged rape of Cathleen Crowell Webb. A photo of my brother with Gary Datson in the line up appeared in many of the newspapers. My parents were furious due to the breach of child confidentiality laws. Sometimes, police are notorious for making mistakes! As you recall, nobody raped Cathleen. Gary spent a great deal of time in jail for a crime that he never committed. This unfortunate incident based upon a lie misconstrued by Cathleen changed this man's life forever.

    Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 11, 2007 2:09:40 AM


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