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She killed her boyfriend because of an alien cult – and was sentenced to up to 40 years  5 Days ago

Source:   USA Today  

A Pennsylvania woman was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for the murder of her boyfriend, which she says was caused by an online alien cult, local media reported.

Barbara Rogers, 42, was found guilty of third-degree murder for the 2017 killing of Steven Mineo, and on Monday she was sentenced to 15 to 40 years, WNEP-TV and BRC-TV reported. 

Prosecutors and Mineo's family criticized the sentence, calling it lenient, and thought Rogers should have been convicted of first-degree murder.

"She got a break. She got a big break today," Jackie Mineo, Steven's aunt, told BRC-TV. 

"You go back to the scene and you have the victim with a gunshot wound, point-blank to the middle of his forehead, so close that there's burns around the wound, there's the star pattern in his forehead," Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Kroeckel told WNEP-TV.

"Who knows what could happen in 15 years from now when she gets out?"

What unfolded early July 15, 2017 at the couple's apartment near Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, is troubling. 

According to WNEP-TV, Rogers made the 911 call to report the shooting.

"My boyfriend had a gun. He told me to hold it here and press the trigger. Oh my God, he's dead!" she told dispatchers.

Rogers said she was in the bedroom with Mineo when he told her to shoot him, grabbing her hands around the gun and telling her to pull the trigger.

"I was not in control of the situation that happened. I was not the dominating party in that situation," Rogers told reporters Monday.

The couple were followers of Sherry Shriner, whom police characterized as an online cult leader in Ohio that focused on aliens and the end of the world.

Rogers said during the trial that Mineo was upset about problems within the group, which caused him to ask Rogers to pull the trigger, BRC-TV reported.

According to the Pocono Record, Mineo thought that the leader was "reptilian" pretending to be a human, Rogers says.

But Shiner had told Mineo that it was Rogers who was possessed, according to The Washington Post.

"When the demon manifested in her, if it was the demon or a lizard, if she had both, a human’s no match for that kind of supernatural strength," Shriner told NJ.com.

"The one thing I did know: He was no good."

The Post reported that Shriner shared her message through online writing, videos and podcasts but denied ever being a "cult" leader. According to the New Republic, Shriner died less than a year after Mineo.

On the night of the killing, the couple had been drinking and went out back to shoot Mineo's gun. The incident occurred when they came back inside, but Rogers said she didn't think the gun was still loaded, WNEP-TV reported.

Rogers plans to appeal, the Pocono Record reported.

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