A well-known 1980’s skateboarder Mark Anthony Rogowski’s career and life were in a downward spiral and fell apart after he raped and killed Jessica Bergsten.
A little bit of history about Mark Rogowski
Mark was born in Brooklyn, New York. When he was three years old, his parents divorced, and he moved to Escondido, California. Mark was a talented sportsman and played in the little league baseball. At the age of seven he started skating, and after two years of skating at local parks, he was chosen to skate for the local skate team at age of 12 in 1978.
In 1980, he started his professional skating career at 14. He won a national championship in 1948, where he beat Tony Hawk.
In 1987, at Scottsdale, Arizona, Mark is introduced to Brandi McClain and her friend Jessica Bergsten. Not long after the introduction Mark and Brandi started a long-term relationship and they appeared together in advertisements and promotional videos. He also worked as a stunt double in the film Gleaming The Cube which starred Christian Slater. Mark and Brandi appeared in a music video called Free Falling by Tom Petty.
When did Things start to go wrong for Mark?
Mark’s popularity took a fall and was taken over by street skating in the 1990’s. The company that endorsed Mark filed for bankruptcy. Looking for something new in his life he changed his name to Gator Mark Anthony, his surname Rogowski was his father’s name and he never knew him.
Mark had an accident in Germany where he fell off a balcony and he went back home to Carlsbad to recover. In Carlsbad Mark befriends Augie Constantino. Augie was a surfer and now born again Christian. Augie became Mark’s spiritual advisor, and Mark converted to a strict Evangelical form of Christianity.
Brandi and Mark were together for four years and then Mark’s life change. Mark suggested to Brandi that they should marry and that was the end of his relationship with Brandi, and she moved back to her parents’ home in San Diego, California.
After the breakup, Mark fell into severe alcoholism. He would break into Brandi’s house and make threating phone calls to her new boyfriend’s home.
Brandi contacted the police and filed a report, but the situation was not monitored.
The fateful day Jessica Bergsten was Murdered by Mark Rogowski
On the 20th March 1991, Jessica contacted Mark as she moved to California. Mark and Jessica spent the day together on the 21st March and the next day Jessica was reported missing.
According to Mark, they went back to his condo to watch movies and drink wine. He hit her on the back of the head with a club knocking her semi-conscious, and dragged her to his second-floor bedroom. She was shackled to his bed and he raped her. He put her in a surfboard bag, as he did not want the neighbors to hear her screams. He put his hand over her mouth until she stopped breathing and buried her body in a shallow grave in the Shell Canyon desert.
Jessica’s body was found on April 10th 1991.
Mark turns himself in
Mark’s friend and advisor told him to confess his crimes. Mark was guilt-ridden and waived his legal rights. He turned himself in on the 11th of April and showed the police where he buried the body of Jessica. The police found evidence of Jessica’s blood on the bedroom carpet where he murdered her. He killed Jessica because of his misplaced anger towards Brandi.
Mark pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and rape avoiding the death penalty. He was sentenced on March 6th, 1992. He received 31 years, six of them for forcible rape and another twenty-five years to life for first-degree murder. On 7th February 2011, he was denied parole.
He will be eligible for parole in 2018. For now, he is incarcerated at Soledad prison.