Norman Hostage-Taker Devin Rogers Sentenced
CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma - Former hostages of Devin Rogers gave emotional testimony in Cleveland County Court on Wednesday, during a hearing to determine how long Rogers would spend behind bars for taking multiple hostages and engaging in an hours-long standoff with law enforcement in 2014.
Rogers was convicted this past spring on one felony count of kidnapping for extortion, one felony count of felonious pointing of a weapon, one felony count of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and one misdemeanor charge of reckless conduct with a firearm.
Rogers, 31, was sentenced Wednesday to the maximum 26 and a half years in prison, with time already served. He was also told to pay a jury recommended fine of roughly $6500.
All along, Rogers has said he wants to go to jail, and told reporters he wanted to spend 10 years in prison.
Rogers was convicted after overtaking the Nextep building in Norman on Nov. 10, 2014. There he took several hostages, later claiming he only wanted to go to jail. No one was physically hurt during the crime.
The hearing was initially halted before testimony was underway after Rogers' legal team asked to have a pre-sentencing investigation report stricken from the record and asked that victims not be allowed to give statements. Both motions were denied.
Rogers sat mostly emotionless during the hearing, but former hostages spoke passionately both against and in support of Rogers.
One victim, Jennifer Shokat, advocated for leniency. Breaking down multiple times while reading a written statement in court she praised Rogers' actions toward her while she was being held against her will. She said he showed her "compassion," telling her she's would be ok.
Shokat, who now calls herself an advocate for veterans, said Rogers' troubled mental state was to blame. She eluded that it stemmed from his service in the military.
"[A]nyone who tries to say the military and the recent wars don't have anything to do with this is a fool," she read aloud.
Shokat sobbed after the sentencing decision was delivered.
Members of the American Legion were also present. One member told Judge Tracy Schumacher they were there "to support a combat veteran."
Rogers' other victim, Joseph Steadman also testified, however he did not share Shokat's sympathy.
Steadman, a veteran who now works for a veteran's advocacy organization, told the court Rogers had taken away his once peaceful demeanor. He says now he's paranoid about people following behind him or crossing in front of him, so much so he felt the need to carry a gun with him while in public.
"Just walking by the building caused my leg to go numb," Steadman said describing a physical reaction after to the incident.
In surveillance videos of the incident, Rogers can be seen putting a gun to Steadman's head while interning the building. Steadman said while he was not physically harmed, the incident left emotional scars.
"Mentally, I don't know if I'll ever be repaired," he said during his halted testimony. Steadman paused multiple times while speaking to fight back tears.
Rogers will remain in the Cleveland County Jail for the next 10 days before being transferred to an Oklahoma prison.