Clawson homicide suspect competent to stand trial

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 12, 2021




CLAWSON — On April 28, 52-4 District Court Judge Maureen McGinnis ruled that a defendant in a Clawson homicide that took place in late January is competent to stand trial, citing findings from a court-ordered evaluation by the Center for Forensic Psychiatry.

Steven Alexander Rogers, 37, of Clawson, is charged with homicide — open murder; first-degree home invasion; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He remains lodged at the Oakland County Jail after the court denied him bond.

The charges, all felonies, are punishable by up to life in prison, up to 20 years in prison, and up to two years in prison, respectively.

During the virtual court proceedings April 28, Rogers appeared in an orange jumpsuit from the jail, and his defense attorney, Joseph Lavigne, and assistant prosecuting attorney Jeffrey Kaelin both agreed on Rogers’ competency to stand trial.

Lavigne said he and his client did not require a probable cause conference, and all parties agreed to set Rogers’ next court date as an in-person preliminary examination at 1:30 p.m. May 24, barring any changes in protocol due to COVID-19 numbers.

McGuiness asked both attorneys if they planned to call witnesses. Kaelin said he could not say for certain, but potentially three or more, while Lavigne said he did not plan to call any witnesses for the exam. Subsequently, McGuiness said she felt that committing one afternoon for the exam would be reasonable.

McGuiness additionally mandated that Rogers continue being held without bond.

In a phone interview with the Royal Oak Review, Lavigne said he felt the recommendation from the Center for Forensic Psychiatry did not take an inordinate amount of time, as such requests ordinarily take some time.

“I also know the forensic center is dealing with staffing issues and accessibility due to COVID,” he said. “My client is facing very serious charges, and we have a right to test the quality of the evidence against him.”

At approximately 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, Clawson police responded to an address in the 200 block of Nakota Road, south of 14 Mile Road and west of South Washington Avenue, on a report that Rogers allegedly entered the home and struck a female occupant with a beer bottle. Police said the assault caused facial injuries, which first responders treated at the scene.

Police, upon arrival, reportedly witnessed Rogers walking out of the home and placed him under arrest. While in the back seat of a police vehicle, Rogers allegedly made comments that led police to search his home, located in the 300 block of Nakota Road.

Inside the home, police discovered a deceased man who was the victim of a gunshot. Police identified the decedent as Christopher Ramsey, 35, of Warren.

Clawson Police Chief Scott Sarvello said police learned that the two men were “good friends” and that investigators did not discover a motive, but that the shooting occurred just prior to officers arriving.

While the homeowners at the address in the 200 block of Nakota Road knew Rogers as their neighbor who lived down the street, they reportedly told police that they did not recognize him at the time of the incident, Sarvello said.

A multi-jurisdictional law enforcement team of detectives, as well as the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, is investigating the death, which was the city of Clawson’s first homicide since 2004.

Less than two months later, on March 21, police said that a 15-year-old Clawson Public Schools student died after a domestic shooting at the hands of her stepfather, who also shot a neighbor, who was trying to help, in the leg before barricading himself in his house and dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the 400 block of 14 Mile Road, near Custer Avenue.