AMITE — A jury found Eric Maurer guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated burglary Thursday evening in the stabbing death of Rube Rogers, 65, of Ponchatoula.
Maurer, 33, of Springfield, was accused of killing the man who raised him and then fleeing with his real father to Tennessee in August 2010.
Maurer pushed Rogers down a set of stairs and later slit his throat while Rogers was on the phone to a 911 operator, prosecutor Brad Berner told a jury during closing arguments.
“You heard his dying declaration” on the 56-second, 911 tape on which Rogers named Maurer as his attacker before the phone went dead, Berner said.
After taking Rogers’ credit cards, money and truck keys, Maurer killed Rogers when he went downstairs and found Rogers lying on the floor and talking on the phone to an emergency operator, Berner said. “You heard the call,” he told the jury. “You heard the urgency of the voice. He knew he was in trouble.”
Maurer pleaded insanity. Defense attorney Erica Williams told the jury her client said he was on crack cocaine.“You can make the decision whether he had the specific intent to kill the man he called his daddy,” she told the jury.
Maurer admitted he killed Rogers to keep from being identified, the prosecutor said.
“If that’s not specific intent to kill, I don’t know what is,” Berner said.
Evidence found at the scene of the crime included a bloody knife with Maurer’s DNA on the handle, Berner said.
Williams said Maurer went to Rogers’ home on the night of the killing with the intention of moving back into the residence. Maurer brought with him a duffel bag of clothes.
She said that as children, Maurer and a twin brother were left by their father with Rogers.
After the killing, Maurer tried to elude authorities by taking Rogers’ truck and fleeing with his biological father, Ricky Maurer, to a motel near Nashville, where he registered under Rogers’ name, Berner told jurors.
Ricky Maurer originally was charged as an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder. He later pleaded no contest to the amended charge of criminal mischief, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said.
Ricky Maurer was sentenced to six months in parish jail, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Formal sentencing for Eric Maurer was set for May 28, said Perrilloux, who added that a conviction for second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.