The NFL Player Who Murdered Four People In The ’80s

His trial was way crazier than O.J.'s.
The NFL Player Who Murdered Four People In The ’80s

We’ve done rundowns on NFL players’ crimes before. Then there’s Robert Rozier, in a league of his own. After his football career, Rozier murdered four people. Four people we know of; he confessed to killing more. And that wasn’t even the end of his story. 

Rozier was part of the St. Louis Cardinals, and he also played in high school, in college, and for the Canadian Football League. Then he found his way the Nation of Yahweh, a group under the leadership of a nut calling himself Yahweh ben Yahweh. Ben (or Hulon Mitchell, to use his birth name) named himself after God because he claimed he was the latest incarnation of God, the second after Jesus. And Mitchell had a mission for his followers: to kill the infidels. 

All white people were infidels, said Mitchell. He told his followers, whom he dubbed Death Angels, to kill them at random—“any white devil would do.” Rozier killed two such men in an apartment. Another man, he killed then took an ear as a trophy to present to Mitchell. On Halloween night 1986, he participated in killing two more people, residents of a complex the Nation of Yahweh had bought. We suppose this murder was less discreet than usual, so police now stepped in and arrested him. 

Rozier had a lot to say to police, including murder details both credible and incredible as well as biographical details, as he claimed to be 404 years old. Prosecutors didn’t primarily care about putting Rozier away, though. They really wanted to nab Mitchell. So they got Rozier to testify against his mentor, in a spectacular trial that resulted in the state nailing Mitchell on ... conspiracy. Not exactly the conviction of the century, and Mitchell ended up serving less than a year per murder he’d ordered.

Thanks to turning state’s evidence, Rozier served ten years in prison then got paroled. He changed his name and sought a life of spiritualism, spiritualism that this time demanded no murder. He went on never to commit another violent crime again. No crime of any kind, In fact, unless you count writing some checks that bounced.

Wait, hold on. We do need to count writing checks that bounced. $2,200 in bum checks might be nothing compared to murder, but it’s still a crime. Plus, under California’s habitual offender law, if you have previous offenses, any conviction merits a mandatory sentence of 25-to-life. And that is why Robert Rozier has been in prison since 2010 and is still in prison today, having been denied parole most recently just this year. 

So Rozier got released after ten years for multiple murders, then got imprisoned for a dozen more years (and maybe for life) for rubber checks. Maybe if he’d played baseball instead of football, he’d have known California had a three strikes law. 

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Top image: Arizona Department of Transportation

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