Man arrested in SEPTA attack had been charged in previous stabbing

Kenneth Rogers
Philadelphia Police

A man arrested for an alleged violent assault early Sunday morning at a SEPTA underground concourse in Center City was behind bars until two months ago after being charged with attempted murder for a June stabbing at a Market-Frankford Line stop.

Kenneth Rogers, 28, was apprehended shortly after a 46-year-old man was beaten over the head with an object at around 1:15 a.m. inside the 8th and Market transit station, which is shared by the Market-Frankford Line, Broad-Ridge Spur and PATCO, authorities said.

The victim was approached from behind and attacked, according to police. The suspect demanded valuables, and he continued striking the man after being told that he only had a dollar, investigators said. Passersby attempted to intervene, police added.

SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said Rogers allegedly assaulted the victim with a “small tool,” not an ax or hatchet, as initially reported. Officers have not recovered the weapon, he added.

Police said the victim alerted officers, who apprehended Rogers at street level. He has been charged with aggravated assault, robbery and other crimes.

Rogers has had previous run-ins with transit police, according to Busch. He was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault following a stabbing June 1 at the Market-Frankford Line’s Allegheny Station in Kensington.

“It was very frustrating for us to know that he was back out on the street,” Busch said.

Rogers was initially jailed on 10% of $750,000 bail; however, in December, a judge approved a joint motion allowing him to be released on unsecured bond and house arrest. Prosecutors agreed to the reduction to allow the trial date to be pushed back, according to court documents.

The victim in the June stabbing was unhoused and did not maintain contact with court services, Jane Roh, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, told Metro. A judge issued an arrest warrant for Rogers last month after he violated the conditions of his release, she said.

“It is not uncommon for unhoused complaints in particular to fail to appear in court, and for those cases to eventually get dismissed or withdrawn, especially when they are the only witness to the alleged crime,” Roh added.

Transit police believe Rogers is homeless and targets other unsheltered people, Busch said.

Court records indicate that bail for his most recent arrest was again set at 10% of $750,000. The Defender’s Association, which is representing Rogers in both cases, declined to comment.