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Mandel Rogers

Other Conviction Integrity Unit DNA Cases
On December 17, 1997 Houston, Texas police arrested 18-year-old Mandel Rogers and charged him with four separate armed robberies committed over the prior two weeks.

Police also charged 16-year-old Joseph Hines with taking part in three of the crimes. Hines also was charged with a fourth crime—a sexual assault and robbery—for which Rogers was not charged.

The crimes were all committed within a several block area on Houston’s north side.

On December 1 around 8 p.m., Rogers and Hines allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint.

On December 14 at 8 p.m., Hines allegedly broke into a home and sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl and robbed her parents. The victims said three men took part, but only Hines was identified by the victims.

On December 15 at 12:45 a.m., Rogers alone allegedly robbed a woman.

On December 15 at 1:15 a.m., Rogers and Hines allegedly robbed a man in his home.

On December 15 at about 2:15 a.m., Rogers and Hines allegedly robbed three members of a family. Although the victim said both men sexually assaulted her, only Hines’s DNA was identified.

Rogers went to trial in Harris County Circuit Court in April 1999 for the robbery of the woman on December 15, and the robbery of the three family members on that same date. All four victims identified him as the robber. In addition, the woman said Rogers sexually assaulted her. On April 19, 1999, Rogers was convicted of both charges of armed robbery.

On April 20, 1999, the prosecution offered Rogers a deal: Plead no contest to the two cases that were still pending, as well as the two cases for which he had just be convicted, in return for a prison sentence of 12 years. Rogers accepted the deal, pled no contest to all four cases and was sentenced to prison for 12 years.

The following year, Hines was convicted of the December 14 sexual assault of the 15-year-old girl and was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the other crimes for which he was charged as well.

Rogers served his sentence and was released in 2009. He petitioned for DNA testing in the case in which the woman had identified him and Hines as sexually assaulting her. DNA tests were performed in 2010 on the biological evidence in that case and two male DNA profiles were identified, Hines’ profile and that of another man whose identity was not known. The profile of the unidentified man was submitted to the FBI’s national DNA dataset (CODIS) and the profile was matched to Cedrick Jackson, who was serving a 38-year prison term in Texas for a sexual assault and robbery in 2005.

Jackson was interviewed, and he admitted that he and Hines committed the sexual assault and robbery and that Rogers was not involved.

Rogers filed state petitions for writs of habeas corpus in all four of his convictions seeking to vacate his no-contest pleas. He argued that if he had been aware of a DNA exclusion in one case, he would not have agreed to plead no contest to any of the four cases.

The Harris County District Attorney's Post Conviction Review Unit joined in the motion to vacate the conviction in the case where Rogers was excluded by DNA, but opposed the writs in the three other cases.

On September 17, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ in the robbery case to which Cedrick Jackson confessed and vacated Rogers’ conviction. The appeals court denied the writs in the three other cases.

On October 13, 2014, the prosecution dismissed the charge against Rogers in the robbery case for which the Court of Criminal Appeals vacated the conviction.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 10/21/2014
State:Texas
County:Harris
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1997
Convicted:1999
Exonerated:2014
Sentence:12 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:18
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes