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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Parole Denied for Gator

Parole Denied for Gator

Thasher Mag,Mark Gator Rogowski, Vision Street Wear, Brandi McClain
In the 80’s, Mark Gator Rogowski was one of the best skateboarders around. Born in 1966 in Brooklyn, NY, he toured around the world, with Tony Hawk and had a crazy lifestyle. He was sponsored by Gullwing Trucks and Vision Street Wear and in 83, at age 17 in 1983, was already making $100,000 a year. The “Gator” line included several variation decks, a full clothing line and videos and was a regular fixture in Thrasher magazine.
It was during a skate show in Arizona that Rogowski was introduced to Brandi McClain. After 1987, Gator and McClain entered into a tumultuous relationship, appearing together in many skate-related ads and promotional videos for Rogowski's sponsor Vision Street Wear, as well as the Tom Petty video Free Fallin’ (with delicious scenes of vert action). Gator also appeared as a stunt double on the 1989 film Gleaming the Cube, with Christian Slater.

After Brandi left him, Rogowski became obsessively jealous: breaking into McClain’s home to steal the things he had given her, calling her new boyfriend with threats, and threatening McClain directly. One night, Rogowski got a call from Jessica Bergsten, Brandi McClain’s girlfriend who had recently moved to Southern California. Bergsten asked Mark to show her around San Diego. They spent a day together, then, he brought her home.

That’s when things turned horrible… He beat her with a “Club", an anti-theft device popular in the 80’s and 90’s. After knocking her semi-unconscious, he dragged her to his bedroom on the 2nd floor and raped her, wrapped her in a surfboard bag to avoid the noise, strangled her and managed to dump her naked body in a shallow grave in the desert –all without being caught.

A few weeks later, her body was found, but because of the state of decomposition, her identity remained unknown. He would have gotten away with it if he had not recently turned Born-Again Christian. He confessed what he had done to his "spiritual advisor", a born-again Christian surfer, who encouraged him to confess his crime to the police - which Rogowski did, waiving his legal rights.

Later in 1991, Rogowski pleaded guilty to rape and murder and received a 31-year prison sentence after a jury found him guilty of the rape and murder of Jessica Bergsten.

Gator had his first parole hearing at the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo on February 7th, 2011 but was denied parole. He won't be eligible for a new hearing until another seven years.

Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator (22-Aug-2003)

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Tuesday, February 08, 2011 


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