Florida Man Executed for 1989 Triple Murder Maintained Innocent Until Death in Gruesome Tampa Case

TAMPA, Fla. – Oba Chandler, a Florida man, was executed after being convicted on three murder charges in the deaths of Joan Rogers and her two teenage daughters. The June 1989 killings of Rogers and her daughters, Michelle and Christie, remained unsolved for three years after their bodies were found in Tampa Bay with yellow polypropylene rope tying them to concrete blocks by their necks. The exhaustive search for Chandler is detailed in the Fox True Crime podcast.

Rogers, 36, and her daughters were found with their mouths taped shut and were nude from the waist down. Their bodies had been submerged for 50 to 60 hours, making it impossible to determine if they had been raped. The victims were vacationing in Florida while Joan’s husband, Hal Rogers, stayed behind at their dairy farm in Willshire, Ohio.

Chandler was connected to another woman’s unsolved murder in 2014. DNA from the post-mortem rape kit of 20-year-old Ivelisse Berrios Beguerisse matched Chandler’s, as announced by the Coral Springs Police Department. Beguerisse’s body was recovered with ligature marks on her wrists and ankles, with brown packing tape found in her hair.

Chandler maintained his innocence until his execution at 65 years old, and he was also charged with the rape of a Canadian tourist. Even as he was arrested, Chandler denied any involvement in the murders. “My whole life has been running from the police,” he said in a jailhouse interview. “There’s no evidence that says I committed this crime,” he told a reporter.

At the time of the murders, John Rogers, Joan’s brother, was serving time in prison for the alleged rape of another Ohio woman. Detectives determined that there was no way he could have committed or orchestrated the triple homicide. However, they later gained a significant lead when a Canadian tourist reported a rape, and a man who matched Chandler’s description threatened her with violence similar to the Rogers murders.

Chandler’s phone records placed him on the water on the night where the Rogers family was killed, which convinced the district attorney to press murder charges along with other circumstantial evidence. Chandler’s execution took place in November 2011, and he handed corrections officers a handwritten note stating “You are killing an innocent man today.”

His execution came without any last words, and Chandler’s maintained his innocence until the end. In a note on his execution day, he wrote that executioners were “killing an innocent man today.” He was 65 years old at the time of his execution. The execution was a milestone in solving the cold case and bringing closure to the victims’ families.