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Oba Chandler

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Oba Chandler

Mug shot of Oba Chandler
Born October 11, 1946(1946-10-11)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Died November 15, 2011(2011-11-15) (aged 65)
Raiford, Florida, U.S.
Alias(es) Dave Posner or Posno
Conviction(s) First degree murder, armed robbery
Penalty Death sentence
Status Executed
Occupation Aluminum building contractor
Children 8

Oba Chandler (October 11, 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio - November 15, 2011 in Raiford, Florida) was an American convicted murderer who was executed in Florida for the murders of an Ohio woman and her two teenage daughters. The women's bodies where found floating in the Tampa Bay, Tampa in June 1989. They had been bound and gagged and then tossed into the bay with concrete blocks tied to their necks while still alive.[1]

Billboards where at the later stages of the investigation used in trying to find however did the murders, the billboards that was spread all over Tampa had pictures of the Rogers women and a picture of the hand-writing of the suspected triple murderer.[2] This method had never been used before, and became useful in searches for missing people later on.[3]

Chandler was arrested in September 1992. He was put on trial where he was found guilty of the murders by a 12 member jury. In November 4, 1994 he was sentenced to death by a deadly by the judge in the case. Before his execution, Chandler was at Union Correctional Institution in Florida. Author Thomas French in 1998 won the Pulitzer Prize for his article series Angels & Demons which told the story of the murders.[4]


Early life

Oba Chandler was born in Cincinnati in the state of Ohio. He was the fourth of five children. His parents were Oba Chandler Sr. and Margaret Johnson. At the age of 10, Chandler's father Oba Chandler Senior hanged himself in the Chandler family's basement. This upset Oba so much that he jumped into his father's grave during the funeral in 1957 while gravediggers were covering the coffin with dirt.[5] Afterwards, Oba's life spun out of control and he was arrested many times and had been arrested 20 times by the time he was a teenager. As an adult, he was charged with a long list of crimes, including theft, having fake money, burglary, kidnapping and armed robbery.[6] Chandler would also father a total of eight children before his arrest, the latest one being Whitney born in February, 1989 with his wife at the time Debra Chandler. Between May and September of 1991 Chandler worked as an informant for the US customs Tampa office, at the same time as Tampa police investigated the Rogers family triple murder.[7]

Facts of the murders

Joan Rogers and her two daughters, Michelle (17 years of age) and Christe (14 years of age) left their family dairy farm on May 26, 1989 in Willshire for a vacation in Florida. [8] They had never before left the state of Ohio. On their last day in Florida they became lost and drove into Tampa to ask for directions to the nearest hotel, in a store they came across Oba Chandler and asked him. It is thought that he saw the Ohio state car license plates on Joan's car and used that as means to ask the family to join him out for a boat trip later.[9]

The discovery of the bodies

Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay where the first body were found on June 4, 1989.

The women's bodies were discovered floating in the Tampa Bay on June 4, 1989 with bound hands and feet with concrete blocks tied to their necks and duct tape over their mouths. The first body was found floating over the Sunshine Skyway bridge when a sailboat on its way home to Tampa after a trip to Key West, had just crossed under the Sunshine Skyway when many people on board saw an object in the water. They soon realized it was a dead body of a female.[10] Soon another body was found and yet another third body was also dragged out of the bay within an hour. All three bodies had been tied and gagged and had concrete blocks tied around their necks. Autopsies thought the women had been tossed into the bay while still alive.[11]


Subsequent investigaton

The Rogers women where identified a week after their bodies where found in the bay. A hotel maid had discovered that a hotel room had stood unused for several days.[12] And when the reports about the murders started to leap into the media the hotel decided to contact investigators in the case.[13] Soon it stood clear that it was indeed the families room after fingerprints where matched to those of the victims, some snaphots from a camera was also discovered in the room which showed where the family had traveled and also a last shot over Tampa Bay. This photo was taken just minutes before the Rogers women went out to meet Oba Chandler to go on a boat ride out on the bay.

Incriminating fact and arrest

The case remained unsolved and cold for several years, partly due to the volume of tips pouring in to the police who investigated the crime.[14][15] Chandler would not be arrested for the murders until September 24, 1992.[16] His handwritten directions and palmprint on a brochure found in the Rogers' vehicle, along with a description of his boat written by Jo Rogers on the brochure, were the primary clues that led to his being named a suspect. Also, authorities had posted the handwriting from the brochure on billboards, which was historic as it was used for the first time in an attempt to find the unknown killer, and this led to a tip from a former neighbor who was able to provide a copy of a work order that Chandler had written.[17] A handwriting analysis conclusively matched the two.[18]

Sentence and aftermath

The Rogers women were all buried on June 13, 1989 after a funeral service at the Zion Lutheral Church in their hometown of Willshire, Ohio. About 300 people among them family and friends of the victims attended the service.[19][20] Numerous police officers were also present to keep all news media and crews out of the church during the funeral service, this because of the huge media interest for the case by media at the time.[20] Chandler was tried and found guilty of the murders,[21] and sentenced to death on November 4, 1994.[22][23] After sentencing, the jury forewoman commented regarding the death sentence that "They need to do this swiftly. The man is a mutation of a human being and he needs to be destroyed."[24] In July 2008, it was revealed that Chandler was on Florida's short-list of executions.[25]

Profiling experts believe that Chandler may have killed previously, based on the speculation that a first-time killer would not be experienced or bold enough to abduct and kill three women at once.[26] However, Chandler has never been charged with other murders. Chandler got an Institutional Adjustment disciplinary report on December 15, 2001, for disobeying orders in prison.[27] All of Chandler's appeals since his 1994 conviction have been denied, the latest one in May 2007.[28] Author Thomas French in 1998 won the Pulitzer prize for his article series Angels & Demons which told the story of the murders.[4]


Oba Chandler was executed on November 15, 2011 with a lethal injection at 4:25 pm in Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida.[29]


  1. "Accused triple killer will testify". Boca Raton News. Retrieved August 14 2009.
  2. "Angels & Demons". SpTimes. Retrieved 18 april 2008.
  3. "Billboard Yields Serial-Killing Suspect". Seattle Times. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Angels & Demons". SpTimes. Retrieved November 20 2007.
  5. "Oba Chandler life story". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved September 1 2009.
  6. "Findlaw article". Findlaw-caselaw. Retrieved 2 november 2008.
  7. "Triple murder suspect worked as informant". Herald-Tribune.,2083889&dq=oba+chandler+informant&hl=en. Retrieved February 24 2010.
  8. "Vacation turned into a nightmare". Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 8 2009.
  9. "Angels & Demons". SpTimes. Retrieved July 2 2009.
  10. "Police seeks 3 women's identities". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved July 14 2009.
  11. "Angels & Demons". SpTimes. Retrieved July 1 2009.
  12. "Willshire victims". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved September 1 2009.
  13. "Angels & Demons". SpTimes. Retrieved July 1 2009.
  14. "Tips continuing in triple murder". St. Petersburg times. Retrieved June 26 2009.
  15. "Tips pour in on triple murder". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved June 26 2009.
  16. "Handwriting on billboard led to suspects arrest". St. Petersburg times. Retrieved June 26 2009.
  17. "Farmer who lost kin bitter about rumours". Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 30 2009.
  18. "Defense:Chandler met victims". St. Petersburg times. Retrieved June 26 2009.
  19. "Triple murder still haunts the small town of Willshire". The Blade.,4218&dq=joan+michelle+christe+rogers&hl=en. Retrieved February 24 2010.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Murder victims buried in Ohio". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved January 3 2010.
  21. "Man Found Guilty Of Killing 3 Tourists". New York times. Retrieved February 25 2009.
  22. "Chandler gets three death sentences in Bay slayings". Boca Raton news. Retrieved June 5 2009.
  23. "Angels & Demons". SpTimes. Retrieved September 26 2009.
  24. "Oba Chandler gets death for Tampa killings". Ocala Star Banner. Retrieved September 26 2009.
  25. "Chandler on Florida's short list". Retrieved July 31 2008.
  26. "Body raises specter". SpTimes. Retrieved November 22 2008.
  27. "Oba Chandler status". FloridaCapitalCases. Retrieved November 22 2008.
  28. "Condemned killer who dumped 3 bodies in bay loses appeal". Herald Tribune. Retrieved January 3 2010.

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