THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Rogge Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Shooting Death Of Wife
Issue Date: October 17, 2019
"You are a bully who abuses women," Judge James Morrison told 56-year-old Gary Rogge in Marinette Circuit Court on Monday, Oct. 14 shortly before ordering him to spend the next 40 years in prison for the shooting death of his wife, Shelly Erickson-Rogge at their Pembine home in January of this year.
"You will probably die in prison, and that would be totally justified," Judge Morrison told Rogge, noting that he will be 96 years old when the prison term is up. In case he survives the 40 years, the sentence includes 20 years on extended supervision. "Protection of the public demands that you spend every minute possible in the prison system," Morrison told Rogge. Morrison noted he had considered the implications of the maximum sentence available before agreeing on July 25 to accept a plea bargain agreement in which Rogge had pled no contest to a reduced charge of first degree reckless homicide. He had initially been charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide charge carries a possible sentence to life in prison.
After being assured the victim's family had agreed to the plea bargain judge Morrison had ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set the Oct. 14 sentencing date. He noted before accepting the plea bargain agreement and again at the sentencing that her family would be spared the pain of sitting through a jury trial.
Testimony at the sentencing proceedings showed Rogge had previously been charged in Michigan with violence against women as a result of attacks on women with whom he had been living with in 2005 and 2006. One of them was in the courtroom on Monday with her mother.
Morrison commented had more been done in response to those acts Shelly Erickson Rogge might still be alive.
The courtroom was jammed for emotion-packed sentencing proceedings that lasted more than two hours on Monday, and a somber atmosphere prevailed. Rogge was present in orange jail garb with Defense Attorney John D'Angelo, and the prosecution was represented by District Attorney DeShea Morrow and Assistant District Attorney Cody Marschall. He has been held on $1 million cash bond since his arrest in January.
According to the criminal complaint that led to Rogge's arrest, and comments at the sentencing hearing, he and Shelley had been drinking all day at a Pembine bar prior to the shooting and reportedly had a disagreement that led to her going alone to their home at N18433 Petite Lane in Pembine and him getting a ride there a few hours later from another customer. He called 911 to report the shooting about an hour after he was dropped off at home.
He had told investigators they had been watching Westerns all day and were playing shooting games at home and claimed he was showing her "quick draw" moves when he accidentally shot her with a .22 caliber pistol. Later he stated he could not recall events of that night. At sentencing, Morrison called the stories "idiotic," and said Rogge would have plenty of time in prison to recall what really happened.
After performing an autopsy, Fond du Lac Chief Medical Examiner Adam Covach said the gunshot wound to Shelley Rogge was fired from a .22 caliber pistol from close range, with the muzzle directly against her chest.
The couple had been living together for several years before being married in Las Vegas in April of 2018. The complaint states Rogge had told investigators she was the love of his life, and kept saying, "I can't believe this is happening. This is so stupid. I didn't mean to kill my wife!"
An exchange of e-mails on the night of the shooting ended with one from Shelley saying they were through.
There were about two dozen members of Shelly Rogge's family in court for the sentencing
Marinette County Sheriff's Department provided heavy security. There were five officers inside the courtroom in addition to Sheriff Jerry Sauve. Additional officers were in the hallway outside with metal detectors to check everyone who entered the courtroom.
Seated as observers in what would have been the jury box had there been a jury trial were several nursing students and officials from the Rainbow House Domestic Abuse Shelter in Marinette.
At the start of the sentencing proceedings Judge Morrison played a video tape from the victim's son, Matthew Erickson, in Wyoming, who expressed rage and hatred toward Rogge and said one of the main reasons he had decided not to come to Wisconsin for the sentencing was fear that no one would be able to stop him from jumping over the courtroom rail and attacking and killing the man who killed his mother. There was tearful testimony from the victim's ex-husband Gary Anderson, a daughter, Marcey Rentmeester, a brother Russell Cragen, and a sister, Pam Rhude. There were many comments about the victim's kindness and generosity, and concern from family members that they had missed signs that she was being abused.
Under terms of the agreement, none of Shelly Erickson-Rogge's assets are to be used for Rogge's expenses, and a restitution amount of $15,017.23 with surcharge included was approved. D'Angelo and Rogge had stipulated to that amount. Three was no civil judgment since there is no practical way Rogge would be able to pay.