SAN DIEGO — The one-time champion skateboarder, who spent nearly three decades in prison for raping and murdering a woman at his Southern California home, has been recommended for parole, and the San Diego County District Attorney has asked for parole. Vowed to appeal on Wednesday.
Mark “Gator” Rogowski confesses to the murder of 22-year-old Jessica Bergstein in 1991 at her home in Carlsbad, a beach town north of San Diego. Officers said he beat her to a car lock, tied her to a bed, raped her, then put her in a surfboard bag and strangled her before burying her in the desert.
Bergstein was a friend of Rogovsky’s ex-girlfriend and said he had attacked her to seek “wrongful revenge” when he was released.
Rogowski pleaded guilty to rape and murder and was sentenced to 31 years in prison. He is being held at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephen said in a statement that Bergstein’s family was “devastated” by the California State Board of Parole Hearing’s decision to recommend for parole, and that his office would seek to reverse the decision.
“Jessica Bergstein’s family and friends deserve the continued promise of justice in this case,” Stephan said. “Our office argued vigorously against releasing this violent defendant.”
Rogovsky was previously denied parole in 2011 and 2016, while a 2019 recommendation for his release was overturned by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Rogovsky has said that he was remorseful.
“I’m disappointed with what I did. I think about it every day,” the 1980s skateboarding champion told the parole panel in 2019. “I took everything from that poor family. They have every right to be angry with me. I want to take it away but I can’t.”
According to local ABC News affiliate, KGTV-TV, the most recent panel noted Rogovsky’s remorse and good behavior over the course of 27 years and determined he was fit for release, according to Bergstein’s father and the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. Despite objections from
“The pain never goes away,” Stefan Bergstein told the panel. “This prisoner got a life sentence, but he put Jessica and our family to death.”
The State Parole Hearing Board has 120 days to finalize the panel’s recommendation. Newsom then reviews it and gives it 30 days to decide whether to stand it up or reverse it.