James David Rogers sentenced to prison for threats against Eva LaRue

One of the first letters authorities say James David Rogers wrote to a “CSI: Miami” actress came with a vow: “I am going to … stalk you until the day you die.”

Six days later, another letter came with another pledge: “I am going to instill fear into every part of your life.”

For more than 12 years, federal prosecutors said, Rogers made good on his promises to Eva LaRue, an actress whose credits include seven seasons on “CSI: Miami” as Natalia Boa Vista and 138 episodes on “All My Children” as Dr. Maria Santos Grey.

Only being arrested stopped him.

Rogers, 58, was sentenced last week to three years and four months in federal prison for what prosecutors called his 12-year “campaign of torment,” in which he threatened to torture, rape and kill LaRue and her daughter. Rogers pleaded guilty in the US District Court for Central California in April to two counts of mailing threatening communications, two counts of stalking and one count of threats by interstate communications.

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Rogers’s “vicious and relentless harassment left emotional scars on Ms. LaRue and her daughter, the latter of whom has endured his abuse for most of her life,” Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesperson for the US attorney’s office in Los Angeles, said in an email. “We hope the victims will achieve some measure of peace and closure now that Rogers is going to prison.”

Rogers’ attorney, deputy federal public defender Waseem Salahi, did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Sunday. At his sentencing on Thursday, Rogers told US District Judge John Kronstadt that he was abused and bullied growing up but is now receiving mental health treatment, CNN reported.

“I sincerely apologize for what I did for the last 12 years, putting you and your family through hellish behavior,” he said to LaRue, according to CNN. “I accept full responsibility. I hope you can put this behind you and at some point never think about me again.”

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Between 2007 and his arrest in 2019, Rogers waged a “campaign of torment” against mother and daughter, prosecutors said. From the start of that campaign in March 2007 through June 2015, Rogers sent LaRue and her daughter some 37 handwritten and typed letters in which he threatened to rape, torture and kill them, court records show. LaRue’s daughter was 5 when Rogers started sending letters.

Rogers signed his letters as “Freddie Krueger,” misspelling the first name of the fictional serial killer from the Nightmare on Elm Street slasher films.

In a 2007 letter, Rogers told LaRue that the previous “Mother’s Day may be your last. I have been thinking how I am going to rape and kill you and your daughter,” court records state. Later in the letter, he said: “Maybe I must go see you in Los Angeles.”

In a 2015 letter to LaRue’s daughter, Rogers wrote, “I am the man who has been stalking for the last 7 years. Now I have my eye on you too,” according to court documents.

About four years later, he wrote her another letter, in which he threatened to rape and impregnate her, prosecutors wrote in a 2019 indictment.

“His letters were meant to terrify and intimidate, and [he] succeeded in that aim from the start,” prosecutors wrote last month in a memo in which they pushed the judge to sentence Rogers to nearly five years in prison.

Over an almost three-week period in October and November 2019, Rogers called the daughter’s school about 18 times, identifying himself to an employee as her father on at least three of them and asking whether she was at the school, prosecutors alleged. He left a voice mail at the end of one of the last calls. In that message, he identified himself as Krueger and threatened to “rape her, molest her and kill her,” according to court records.

Rogers’ “threats impacted the daily lives of his victims,” ​​prosecutors wrote in court documents.

For years, LaRue didn’t know the identity of the person sending her the threats. She and her daughter drove roundabout routes home, slept with weapons close by and talked with each other about getting help quickly if the stalker tried to hurt them. They moved several times over the years and avoided getting mail at their home address to try to hide from Rogers.

“To no avail. Each time they moved, [Rogers’s] letters — and the victims’ terror — would always follow,” prosecutors wrote in court documents. “Spirit [he] knew it.”

The FBI caught on to Rogers’ trail after taking DNA found on the envelope of one of his letters and running it through a genetic genealogy database, according to CNN. That gave agents a list of the suspect’s relatives and led them to a small town in Ohio where they surveilled Rogers. After he threw an Arby’s bag in a dumpster, agents collected it and matched DNA from a soda straw to what they’d found on the letter, CNN reported.

They arrested Rogers at his home in November 2019.

At Thursday’s hearing, LaRue thanked Rogers for apologizing but called his stalking “beyond deviant behavior” that had stripped her and her family of their basic freedoms, according to CNN. Her daughter said that after Rogers contacted her school, she was afraid for her life and dogged by paranoia, a fear that endures nearly three years later. LaRue spoke of her own fear, not only in the past, but also for the future, after Rogers finishes his sentence.

“I am so worried,” she told the judge, “what will happen when he gets out.”

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