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Rogge gets 40 years in prison for shooting wife

GARY ROGGE

MARINETTE, Wis. — A Pembine, Wis., man will spend 40 years in prison for fatally shooting his wife in their home Jan. 13.

Gary Rogge, 56, was sentenced Monday in Marinette County Circuit Court for first-degree reckless homicide, a class B felony punishable by up to 60 years of confinement, in the death of 63-year-old Shelley Erickson Rogge.

A number of Shelley’s surviving family members addressed the court before sentencing, including two of her children, Matthew Erickson by video and Marcy Rentmeester. Both made clear they will never forgive Rogge for Shelley’s death.

“You truly are a monster,” Rentmeester said, later adding, “Put your bed sheet to good use.”

Marinette County District Attorney DeShea Morrow noted the pre-sentence investigation report characterized Rogge as an unsympathetic man who had not taken responsibility for his wife’s death.

Rogge had a criminal history that included two domestic violence incidents and a stalking charge dismissed after his participation in a domestic violence class, Morrow said.

His crime, in combination with his history, led Morrow to recommend Rogge serve the maximum sentence, she said.

But defense attorney John D’Angelo said Rogge did take responsibility for his actions despite claiming he has no memory of the incident. “This is a tragic situation, “ D’Angelo said.

Though Rogge did have a “checkered past” involving domestic violence, he loved his wife and often expressed remorse for her death, D’Angelo said.

D’Angelo recognized any prison term was likely a life sentence for the 56-year-old, but added he did not believe the maximum penalty was appropriate punishment.

Speaking on his own behalf, Rogge apologized to Shelley’s family.

“We are all here today because of my disastrous decisions,” Rogge said.

Rogge denied he had ever abused his wife. “I am not a monster or Charles Manson back from the dead,” he said.

Marinette County Circuit Court Judge James Morrison dismissed the claim Rogge had no memory of the events that led to Shelley’s death, noting the many “false, idiotic” stories he offered as explanation afterward.

“You have taken a life and it was not an accident,” Morrison said.

Rogge had been set to face a five-day trial for first-degree intentional homicide, a felony punishable by life in prison, but pleaded no contest July 25 to the amended charge of first-degree reckless homicide.

Morrison accepted Rogge’s no-contest plea to spare the family the trauma of trial, he said, with the knowledge Rogge still would face significant prison time for the lesser charge.

“You will probably die in prison,” Morrison said, “and that would be totally justified.”

If he survives the 40 years, Rogge will be on 20 years of extended supervision.

According to the criminal complaint, Rogge called a Marinette County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher about 10:53 p.m. Jan. 13, saying he had fatally shot his wife with a .22 caliber pistol earlier that night after drinking all day.

Rogge reportedly claimed the shooting was accidental as he and his wife played a shooting game at their residence at N18344 Petite Lane in Pembine.

In a rambling account to the dispatcher and other officials, Rogge alternately claimed the accident had happened as he tried to show his wife a western movie-style “quick draw,” that he thought the gun had blanks or wasn’t loaded and that Shelley Rogge had told him to shoot her during an argument, the complaint states.

A medical examiner’s report indicated Shelley Rogge had been shot in the chest at very close range, based on gunpowder residue around the wound. She was found slumped on the couch, wearing a bra and jeans, with a wound to the chest that had smear marks as if wiped. On the floor was a gray Las Vegas sweatshirt that had a “center mass consistent with the location of the wound on Shelley Rogge.”

Investigators also found a .22 caliber Ruger revolver with a spent casing. They did not find any blanks. The trajectory of the bullet did not fit with an accident or a shooting game, authorities stated.

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