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Florida Department of Corrections

Execution set for killer of mother, daughters

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A man convicted of triple murder in the slayings of a Van Wert County mother and her two daughters who never returned to their farm from a 1989 vacation to Walt Disney World is set to receive a lethal injection Nov. 15.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the death warrant Monday for Oba Chandler.

Chandler was convicted in 1994 of murder in the death of 36-year-old Joan Rogers and her daughters, Christe, 14, and Michelle, 17, after the Willshire woman asked him for directions to a Tampa motel where the family was staying.

Chandler was convicted and sentenced to death for tying the three to concrete blocks and tossing them into Tampa Bay after raping them on his boat.

A St. Petersburg Times reporter won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1998 for his portrait of the slain mother and daughters.

Thomas French wrote a seven-part series titled “Angels & Demons’’ about the 1989 slayings.

The comprehensive series was based on interviews with Hal Rogers, who lost his wife and daughters; other relatives; detectives and prosecutors; and more than 4,000 pages of court records, police reports and other documents.

The slayings stymied investigators for three years after the bodies were found stripped from the waist down, bound with duct tape and yellow rope.

Tipsters finally offered information that led to Chandler’s arrest.

A book was also written about the killings. “Death Cruise” was written by true-crime author Don Davis.

Information from The Journal Gazette archives contributed to this story.