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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    TX - Donald Rodgers, 14, Fort Worth, 7 Aug 1973

    After more than four decades, an arrest has been made in the cold case murder of Donald Rodgers. Rodgers was at his friend's house (Melvin Knox) when he was fatally shot and stabbed. Knox claimed that an intruder broke in and committed the homicide; a story that investigators doubted. He was arrested and charged with the crime back in 1973 but the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. Now, he is being charged again.

    Fort Worth man arrested in 42-year-old cold case

    A 58-year-old Fort worth man who was arrested but never prosecuted in the slaying of a teenage friend 42 years ago is back in jail, again accused in the case.

    Melvin Linn Knox was 15 when his friend, 14-year-old Donald Bryan Rodgers, was found fatally shot and stabbed on Aug. 7, 1973, inside the Knox family’s home in the 2300 block of Faett Court.

    At the time, Knox had blamed the slaying on an apparent intruder. He was arrested days after the slaying but the case was later dismissed for what the Tarrant County district attorney’s office deemed “insufficient evidence.”

    Cold case detectives reopened the case this spring and on Thursday, officers arrested Knox at his Fort Worth home on a murder warrant. He has since confessed, police say.

    “It was unclear exactly what the motive was but he did admit to stabbing and shooting the victim,” said cold case Detective M.J. McCormack
    “Everybody I’ve talked to about this case remembers it very clearly because it was so graphic,” McCormack said. “The boy, now man, who had the shotgun pointed at him remembers it like it was yesterday. He was very clear and his story was similar to the original story.”

    McCormack said he also located a new witness, who provided additional evidence in the case. Police declined to elaborate.
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    Last edited by JusticeWillBeServed; 12-04-2015 at 08:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    There were updates last week on the status of this case.


    A 58-year-old Fort Worth man was certified Tuesday to stand trial as an adult in connection with the slaying of a 14-year-old friend almost 43 years ago.

    A gray-haired Melvin Knox — looking more like a grandfather than a murder defendant inside a juvenile courtroom Tuesday morning — is appealing the decision. If he had not been certified as an adult, the case stemming from the Aug. 7. 1973 homicide would have been dismissed.
    Although Knox was arrested and charged as a juvenile not long after Rodgers’ death, former Tarrant County prosecutor Billy D. Mills testified Tuesday that the case was dismissed in January 1974 due to “insufficient evidence.”

    But late last year, Knox was charged again after cold case detective Michael McCormack reopened the case and obtained two new pieces of evidence: a statement from Knox’s own mother that her son had confessed to shooting Rodgers; and a confession from Knox himself.

    “We are pleased that this case has found an avenue for justice and very happy that the families have an opportunity for closure,” prosecutor Riley Shaw said after State District Judge Tim Menikos handed down his decision Tuesday.

    Ray Hall Jr., Knox’s defense attorney, had argued that prosecutors could have tried Knox while he was still a juvenile — before evidence in the case disappeared and five witnesses died.

    Two shotguns — including a .16-gauge bolt action that police believe was used in the shooting — and a butcher knife found plunged in Rodgers’ chest is among evidence that cannot be located, testimony revealed.

    The cold case detective told the judge on Tuesday that Knox's mother, who was re-interviewed last August, told him her son confessed to her as a teen that the two boys had gotten into a confrontation before the killing. Hall questions that interview because Knox's mother takes Alzheimer's medication and questions if a confession by Knox himself would be admissible in court.

    Police say Knox confessed when police re-interviewed him in December and played a tape of his mother's statement. The detective told the judge Knox admitted the boys had been playing with a gun before he killed his friend.

    “I think it's going to be hard for both the state and the defense to try this case,” said Hall.

    Hall said he's appealing Knox's certification as adult. The district attorney’s office will decide if it moves forward.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Melvin Knox pleaded guilty last month to the murder and was sentenced this week to 40 years in prison. He claims that he accidentally shot Donald in the face although he doesn't remember stabbing him seven times afterwards. It's great that the judge gave him a harsh prison sentence instead of probation.

    Calling it a ‘heinous crime,’ judge gives Fort Worth man 40 years for 1973 murder

    During his sentencing hearing Monday, Knox asked state District Judge Wayne Salvant to grant him probation, proudly pointing out his role as a caregiver to his sick mother, father and sister and the help he provides to those in need in the community.

    Salvant later scoffed at Knox’s request, noting the six convictions the man had picked up since Donald’s death.

    “Do you think you deserve probation for all you’ve done?” Salvant asked. “You committed a heinous crime, you tried to cover it up, then in the past 40 years, you’ve basically been a criminal. Let’s just face it, you have. So probation is not even an issue, not for this court.”
    “Whatever the judge sentenced, I was going to be comfortable with. I had to do that because it was going to be closure for us either way,” explained Carolyn Rodgers, the oldest sibling of the family.

    “But when the judge gave the sentence, it was was more than I could handle. We weren’t thinking it was going to be that much, but we appreciate that it is.”

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Gone cold, but not forgotten: Searching for answers in unsolved murder cases


    McCormack said being able to tell Rodger’s family that Knox had been arrested and had subsequently admitted to the murder, was a welcome change in a unit where such calls are few and far in between.

    “I really feel for the Rodgers family. My kids are about the age of Donald Rodgers now. I look at his picture and I see my kids.”

    “... I know that Donald Rodgers’ parents passed and never got the answers. I feel it and I’m not the family. I know that tears them up. I know they feel their parents went to the grave without peace. I feel bad about that. I hope that for the family still alive, the siblings, this helps.”
    Out of the Cold: Melvin Knox's Secret (Podcast)


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Exclamation New podcast explores Donald Rodger's murder case

    The Star-Telegram has started a podcast on cold cases called Out Of The Cold. The first two episodes are on Donald's Rodger's murder. We'll be doing a new episode every month on a different cold case from the North Texas area. Please consider listening to it. You can find the episodes at this link or on iTunes. Thank you!

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