Ex-skateboard star denied parole in 1991 rape-murder in San Diego
Onetime skateboarding star Mark "Gator" Rogowski, convicted in 1992 of murder and rape in San Diego, has been denied parole, the San Diego County district attorney said Tuesday.
Rogowski, now 44, was one of several skateboarders in the 1980s who were part of an early craze for the sport. The Carlsbad resident had commercial endorsements and a budding career as a movie stunt-double.
On March 21, 1991, he raped and murdered 22-year-old Jessica Bergsten, a close friend of his ex-girlfriend, prosecutors said. He allegedly stuffed her body in a surfboard bag and transported it to the desert, where the remains were found weeks later.
Prosecutors say that Rogowski was angry at being jilted by Bergsten's friend and angry that his lucrative career might not withstand the shift from ramp skating to street skating. The murder weapon, according to court evidence, was an iron steering wheel locking device that Rogowski used to bash his victim's head.
In 1992, he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and forcible rape and was sentenced to 31 years to life in prison. He is incarcerated at the state prison in San Luis Obispo.
This was Rogowski's first parole hearing. He will be eligible for another hearing in seven years.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: A skate-fashion ad in 1988 features Rogowski and then-girlfriend Brandi McClain. She left him, and four years later he went to prison for raping and killing her best friend. Credit: Vision Street Wear / Helen Stickler, "Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator"