Former skateboarder seeks parole 30 years after brutal rape, murder

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Former skateboard superstar Mark “Gator” Anthony was sentenced to 31 years to life in prison in a Vista courtroom on March 6, 1992. (Photo: Charlie Neuman/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Former professional skateboarder Mark “Gator” Rogowski, who was convicted of raping and murdering a woman in Carlsbad 30 years ago, will make his fourth plea for parole Thursday.

Rogowski was sentenced to 31 years to life behind bars for the 1991 killing of 22-year-old Jessica Bergsten, who was struck over the head with a metal steering wheel lock, raped and suffocated.

Her skeletal remains were found buried in a shallow grave in a remote part of the desert in Imperial County. Rogowski confessed to the killing weeks later.

Now 54, Rogowski was denied parole in 2011 and 2016. In late 2019, he was granted parole, but the decision was reversed last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Thursday morning’s hearing will be held behind closed doors at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, where Rogowski is incarcerated.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office plans to argue that Rogowski “remains an unreasonable risk of danger to society” and should remain behind bars. One of Bergsten’s family members is also expected to attend the hearing and provide a statement to the parole board outlining the murder’s impacts on the family.

“The family and friends of Jessica Bergsten deserve the continued promise of justice in this case,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “Our office has a responsibility to argue strongly against releasing this violent defendant. We handle hundreds of parole hearings each year, doing our best when it’s appropriate to make sure dangerous criminals are not released and crime victims are given a voice.”

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