Digital Exclusive: State Supreme Court denies appeal of woman involved in religious alien cult murder

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A woman who killed her boyfriend while part of an alien-themed religious cult in Monroe County will remain jailed, the state Supreme Court has affirmed.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the 15 to 40 year sentence of Barbara Rogers, the woman found guilty of third-degree murder after she killed Stephen Mineo in their Coolbaugh Township apartment.

The investigation into Rogers began in 2017 after she shot Mineo in the head. Rogers called police and relayed to them that she and Mineo were both members of a fringe religious group. However, according to court documents, Mineo and Rogers had gotten upset with the leader of the cult who believed Rogers was actually a reptile.

“Rogers’ and Mineo’s issues with the cult had caused tension in their relationship,” court documents state. “Rogers also stated that she killed Mineo because Mineo wanted her to kill him, and that she was under a large amount of stress due to the issues with the cult.”

The bizarre events were summed up by Monroe County President Judge Margherita P. Worthington.

“Indeed, the evidence showed that [Rogers] and Mineo were part of a “religious” group, led by Sherry Shriner. There was evidence that this group was, in fact, more like a cult and that Shriner had immense control over the majority of her devotees, including Mineo. Approximately [two] months before the shooting, Shriner began attacking [Rogers]online, claiming that [Rogers] was one of the group’s enemies (specifically, a “reptile”) and insinuating that Mineo should no longer be in a relationship with [Rogers],” Worthington wrote.

Shriner is the founder of an online-based cult that believes, among other things that “America is the last days Babylon”. She claims she is “Prophet, Sere, Ambassador, Messenger, and Daughter of the Most High”.

Some of her online claims include the sale of “orgone blasters” which are said to “keep chemtrails from sticking over your home and area…destroys aliens and demons won’t come near them, and they will kill zombies and evil beings!!”

In a recently filed appeal, Rogers claimed that the judge should have allowed the jury to consider the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. She argues that this charge would have been more appropriate as she “had failed to perceive the risk that shooting Mineo would have caused” and that shooting him was an “unlawful act that happened in a reckless matter” rather than murder.

The Supreme Court denied this claim, issuing an opinion that states, in part, the evidence would not have “reasonably supported such a verdict”.

Rogers’s appeal also sought relief after the county court did not approve her motion to suppress the statements she made to police after the shooting. Rogers had stated that while she made these statements after waiving her Miranda rights, the waiver was not “free and unconstrained” as she was under “emotional distress.”

The Supreme Court also denied this claim.

In the third issue brought to the court in her appeal, Rogers claimed the 15 to 40year sentence handed to her by the court was excessive.

Rogers was not found not guilty of a more serious first-degree murder charge which would have sent her to prison for life by the county jury. Rogers claimed this was also not supported by the evidence in her appeal.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied both of these claims, upholding the decisions made in Monroe County Court.

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