Twenty-seven years after a Lake Oswego couple was murdered in California, the cold case has been solved with a confession from their killer.
Rozina Anderson kept a travel diary while she and her husband, Doug, were on a camping trip near Crescent City, California, in August of 1988.
“Doug and I both did some fishing,” reads part of her last entry, dated Aug. 15th.
But after that entry, the diary is blank.
Her family didn’t know anything was wrong until her employer at the Washington Square Sears called them to say she didn’t show up to work.
Her family later learned Doug and Rozina had been murdered.
They were shot several times inside their van, off Howland Hill Road in the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park Campground.
But for 27 years, the case remained unsolved.
Until a few weeks ago.
A man named John Kelley, who had pleaded no contest to the 1986 rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl in San Mateo County, California, told detectives he wanted to “clear his conscience.”
He confessed to killing Doug and Rozina Anderson after their families, and the Del Norte County District Attorney’s office, agreed to take the death penalty off the table. He’d been eligible for the death penalty because of two “special circumstances” under California law: multiple murder victims and murder involving rape.
As for motive, Del Norte County DA Dale Trigg confirmed Kelley said he was just “blowing off steam.”
“This guy just kills people for the fun of it when he’s upset, so that was a little hard to take,” Rozina’s brother, Greg Rousett, said. “The rape thing is new, and that makes it even worse.”
Rozina was the youngest of five kids and grew up on a farm in Oregon City. Her family said she was working at a Fred Meyer in the area when she met Doug Anderson, a customer at the store. They were married in April of 1986.
They were in the prime of their lives.
They were both artists and loved the outdoors. He had a sign company in Lake Oswego and she worked at the Washington Square Sears store. They wanted to have children.
“For me, [the confession] really finalizes it,” Greg’s wife, Diane Rousett, said. “It doesn’t bring them back but it does finalize it. There’s not the question now anymore in your head of what happened and why.”
“Without agreeing to life without the possibility of parole, Kelley would not have confessed. Without his confession, we would not have had a case against him,” DA Dale Trigg wrote in a press release issued Thursday. “Kelley had specific knowledge of several details of the crime scene that had never been released to the public. His answers to our questions made it clear that he had this information first hand.”
Kelley is set to be sentenced on the 1986 case in San Mateo County on December 11th and will then be brought to Del Norte County for sentencing there for the double murder of Doug and Rozina Anderson.
Doug and Rozina’s family members will have the chance to make victim impact statements and face Kelley in court.
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