Woman Convicted Of Murdering Boyfriend She Met Through Online Alien Cult
‘I was not in control of the situation that happened,’ Barbara Rogers claimed of Steven Mineo’s 2017 shooting death.
A woman who first met her boyfriend through their involvement with a cult that believed in fallen angels who took the form of aliens and UFOs said he forced her to kill him.
In 2016, Steven Mineo, 32, and Barbara Rogers, two members of Ohio-based Sherry Shriner’s online cult, began communicating with each other and decided to meet in person.
After Mineo and Rogers rented a home together in Pocono, Pennsylvania, they quickly grew serious.
Cult leader Shriner, who only communicated with devotees online or by phone, didn’t like the development and she grew wary of Rogers' blossoming relationship with the inexperienced Mineo.
As the months passed, Rogers’ behavior became increasingly erratic. She wasn’t taking her medication for a bipolar disorder she was diagnosed with while serving in the military, and she allegedly grew delusional and struggled with impulse control as she drank more and more.
Mineo’s online mentor and mother figure, Shriner, later said in an interview that she believed Rogers may have had a demon or lizard manifested in her and warned that “a human’s no match for that kind of supernatural strength.” She reportedly warned Mineo to be careful.
In the early morning hours of July 15, 2017, Mineo and Rogers were drinking and shooting his .45-caliber handgun at their Coolbaugh Township home. After they returned inside, Robins’ defense attorneys said at trial, Mineo forced his girlfriend to shoot him, according to WNEP.
“My boyfriend had a gun. He told me to hold it here and press the trigger. Oh my God, he's dead!” Rogers, who later claimed she didn’t know the firearm was still loaded, told a 911 dispatcher.
Mineo suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
Rogers allegedly told officers her boyfriend was upset at the time of his death because he had come to believe cult leader Shriner was a “reptilian” — or extraterrestrial — posing as a human, the Pocono Record reported. As a result, Robins said, he forced her to aim the gun point-blank at the middle of his forehead and pull the trigger.
In March 2019, a Monroe County jury convicted Rogers of third-degree murder, and a judge sentenced her to 15 to 40 years behind bars.
Under Pennsylvania law, a third-degree murder conviction requires proof of malice — knowledge that the conduct in question could pose a threat to human life — but not intent to kill.
“I was not in control of the situation that happened. I was not the dominating party in that situation," Rogers told reporters after her sentencing, according to WNEP.
The prosecutor and Mineo’s family said the now-44-year-old convicted killer should have been found guilty of first-degree murder and they criticized the punishment as too lenient.
Shriner always denied she was the leader of a cult. She passed away in 2018.