Defendant Gene Alexzander Scott, right, sits at the defense table with his lawyers Kay Boulware, left, and William Frick Tuesday at the Chester County, S.C., Courthouse.

Defendant Gene Alexzander Scott, right, sits at the defense table with his lawyers Kay Boulware, left, and William Frick Tuesday at the Chester County, S.C., Courthouse. (Tracy Kimball, The State/TNS)

Gene Alexzander Scott executed his grandfather in a plot for money then turned the gun on his great-grandmother in a pair of killings on Father’s Day in 2020, prosecutors said as a double-murder trial started Tuesday.

Gene Rogers, 61, and Billie Rogers, 78, were found shot to death in their rural home in Chester County near Interstate 77 in 2020. More than a year later, law enforcement officers arrested Scott at an Army base in Germany where he was stationed. He joined the Army after the deaths.

Scott, a 26-year-old from Columbia who was in the Marines before the killings, has pleaded not guilty. He has not been convicted of any crime in the case and has been jailed without bail pending trial.

The trial on two counts of murder and weapons charges started Tuesday at the Chester County Courthouse. Scott faces up to life in prison if convicted.

The trial is expected to feature Scott’s alibi that prosecutors said in opening statements was a phony set-up to keep himself in the clear.

The killings: Elderly mother and her son dead

Sgt. Claude Powell of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office testified Tuesday he found the bodies in Gene Rogers’ mobile home after a 911 call on June 20, 2020. Billie Rogers was dead in a chair and Gene Rogers was on the floor, he testified.

Powell testified Scott was there at the home when Powell arrived. Scott told Powell he went to visit his grandfather for Father’s Day before he found them dead and flagged down a passerby to call 911.

Scott was not arrested at the time. He cried when the first officers arrived before changing his emotional state later, Powell testified. Scott claimed to have been in Spartanburg earlier in the day and signed a statement that he had not been to the mobile home for 10 days before that, Powell testified.

Scott told police he talked to his grandfather by phone around 7 a.m. that day, according to Powell.

Lawyers for both sides said there is body camera footage that shows Scott’s interaction with deputies. But Judge Donald Hocker had not yet ruled Tuesday afternoon on what footage will be shown to the jury.

Prosecutors: Scott plotted the crime

Scott created a phony alibi and used others to explain his whereabouts after plotting the execution of his grandfather for weeks, 6th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Candice Lively told jurors in opening statements. Billie Rogers was killed so there was no witness, Lively said.

“It was all for the money, nothing else,” Lively told jurors.

Gene Rogers gave Scott over $86,000 in 2019, Lively said. But Scott blew the money on a blue Mustang and other personal spending after claiming to want to start a business after leaving the Marine Corps, Lively said.

“The one person who wanted to believe in him was Gene Rogers,” Lively said.

But Scott wanted what was left from his grandfather’s life insurance and retirement money, Lively said. He plotted the killing first in May 2020 then went through with it a month later, Lively said.

Gene Rogers retired after working for a gas company and lived in a mobile home in rural Chester. The day of the killings, Gene Rogers ordered pizza with his mother, who was visiting from West Virginia, Lively said.

“Evil walked in, in the form of the defendant,” Lively said. “He hunted them, killed them, shuffled though some of the papers, and left.”

Prosecutors have two witnesses who will testify later in the trial that Scott’s alibi is not legitimate, Lively said.

Defense: Case is weak

But Scott’s defense lawyers say the prosecution case lacks evidence and foundation to support a conviction. Kay Boulware of the 6th Circuit Public Defender’s Office said in opening statements to the jury: “You will realize that this case is as thin as a playing card.”

There’s more to the story than what prosecutors say and witnesses need to be examined by the jury, Boulware said

“Those are where the cards are,” Boulware said of the witnesses.

Boulware did not address prosecutors’ alibi claim in opening statements.

Scott wanted the opportunity to let a jury hear his case, Boulware said.

The trial could last two weeks, the judge said.

©2024 The State.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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