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Skateboarder imprisoned for Carlsbad rape, murder granted parole

Mark Rogowski granted parole Tuesday after nearly three decades in prison for rape, murder
Posted at 11:50 AM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 14:50:12-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Former professional skateboarder Mark "Gator" Rogowski, who was convicted of raping and murdering a woman in Carlsbad more than 30 years ago, has been granted parole.

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.

Rogowski was granted parole on Tuesday by the State Board of Parole Hearings. He was previously denied parole in 2011 and 2016, while a 2019 finding that he was suitable for release was reversed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office said Bergsten's family members are "devastated" by the decision and that the office will appeal for Newsom to reverse the grant.

"The family and friends of Jessica Bergsten deserve the continued promise of justice in this case," District Attorney Summer Stephan said. "Our office argued strongly against releasing this violent defendant. We handle hundreds of parole hearings each year, fighting when it's appropriate to make sure dangerous criminals are not released and crime victims are given a voice."