Rory Melvin Hogensen, 51, of Van Alstyne, was sentenced by a 59th District Court Judge Rim Nall to five years in prison on Tuesday for the offense of Retaliation. In April, a jury had convicted Hogensen of the offense after a four-day trial, and the case had been reset for sentencing after a pre-sentence investigation was completed.
In April 2012, Grayson County DPS Trooper Michael Landeros called police to report someone had been throwing roofing nails behind his squad car which was parked at his residence in Van Alstyne. Over the next year roofing nails were thrown into the trooper’s yard on 27 different occasions. Van Alstyne Police and the Department of Public Safety installed pole cameras with a view of the trooper’s house in order to identify a suspect.
In December of 2013, Detective Shane Ford and Officer Zach Sweetin of the Van Alstyne Police Department identified a white F-150 with distinctive markings in footage obtained from the cameras from the majority of the pole camera videos. A local mechanic identified the truck as belonging to Van Alstyne resident Hogenson.
Investigation revealed that Landeros had arrested Hogenson in the summer of 2011 for Driving While Intoxicated 2nd. A video of the arrest showed Hogenson warn the Trooper “you live here in town, it’s a small town.” Hogenson physically resisted the execution of a DWI blood search warrant at the hospital which later showed his blood alcohol content to be a 0.18. He was later convicted of the crime.
Officers then obtained a search warrant for a GPS device that was discreetly attached to the bottom of Hogenson’s truck. On March 17, 2013, police monitored Hogenson’s truck as it neared Trooper Landeros’ home. Within minutes of passing the residence, officers confirmed that nails had been thrown into the trooper’s driveway. On March 18, 2013, police arrested Hogenson on an unrelated warrant. During the arrest, officers found a plastic bag full of identical roofing nails beside the driver’s seat of Hogenson’s truck.
During the April trial a co-worker of Hogensen testified that on one of the days that nails were thrown the co-worker had ridden to work with Hogenson, and that Hogensen had insisted they drive past the trooper’s house, though it was a slower route. He further testified that he saw Hogenson make a throwing motion with his arm out of the truck window when they drove past the Landeros residence. The jury also heard from another witness who testified Hogenson had told her that he was planning to throw nails in Landeros’ driveway. The jury returned a guilty verdict after one hour of deliberation.
“This trial meant a lot to the law enforcement in our community” said Assistant District Attorney Britton Brooks, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney Michael Kelly. “The officers that protect us deserve to be protected as well.”
The crime of Retaliation against a Peace Officer is a 3rd Degree Felony, carrying a range of punishment of 2-10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Hogenson was represented by attorney Matt Hamilton.