New evidence against Bakersfield woman charged with murdering Clovis man

Mary Sanchez could face at least 50 years to life in prison if she's convicted of murder with a gun.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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New evidence is stacking up in the murder case against a Bakersfield woman accused of killing a Clovis man right before Christmas.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- New evidence is stacking up in the murder case against a Bakersfield woman accused of killing a Clovis man right before Christmas.

Clovis police looked for Steve Rogers on December 17 at a neighbor's request. They didn't see Rogers, but noticed the TV on and a candle burning.

The next day, they went back at his daughter's request, broke in, and found Rogers shot to death - face down in a pool of blood, a bullet in his back.

Both women who called the police told investigators to look at Mary Sanchez.

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Search warrants uncovered by Action News show the neighbor reported Rogers told her he needed to get Sanchez a plane ticket out of town before she hurt someone.

His daughter told police Sanchez had threatened to kill her father and mother, and told Action News the same thing.

"If the defendant made comments that she threatened to kill the victim here and his wife, those can be used against her," said legal analyst Tony Capozzi. "Those are threats. It doesn't mean she did it."

The warrants also reveal police found surveillance video of Sanchez driving Rogers' light blue Grand Marquis a short time after neighbors last saw him alive.

When they went to arrest her at a friend's home in Bakersfield, the car was there.

Rogers had reported her to the Kern County Sheriff's Department for stealing $3500 from his Bakersfield home in October, but then didn't want to press charges.

He also lost $9800 to a fraud scheme in November.

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Clovis police found a few transactions made on Rogers' bank accounts around the time of his death, including at least a couple after they found the body.

Sanchez had a preliminary hearing postponed Wednesday because she's under a COVID quarantine in the Fresno County jail.

Capozzi says her defense attorneys will want to know more about the people surrounding Rogers.

"What would be interesting to know here is whether there are other women he was dating, whether there were other people who may have had a gripe against him or some kind of controversy," Capozzi said. "Is there some other evidence to show other people might've had a motive?"

In fact, Capozzi says most of the evidence outlined in the warrants points directly to a burglary or auto theft, but only circumstantially connects Sanchez to killing Rogers.

"I don't see where there's a murder case here," he said. "Obviously there a murder. He's shot in the back. Somebody killed him. But that doesn't mean this person killed him."

Sanchez could face at least 50 years to life in prison if she's convicted of murder with a gun.