Victims testify against homeless veteran charged with holding them hostage

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NORMAN, Okla. - Day three of the trial against Devin Rogers wrapped up Wednesday in Norman.

The homeless veteran is accused of holding dozens of people hostage inside a Norman office complex in 2014.

Wednesday, hostages recounted that day one by one on the witness stand.

The reception and the first man taken hostage said they didn't think they would make it out of that building alive.

But Rogers' attorneys say he's mentally ill and what happened was a cry for help.

On November 10, 2014, Joe Steadman was walking back from lunch when he says he felt a gun to the back of his head, and a man was telling him to march.

Surveillance video inside the Nextep building shows Devin Rogers holding that gun to Steadman's neck in the lobby.

"We got in the elevator, and I asked him, 'you know I’ve got a young family, please don’t kill me,' and he said, 'if i wanted to kill you, you’d already be dead,'" Steadman said.

Rogers' attorneys say he suffers from PTSD from his time in the military, and that he's a transient.

How he ended up in Norman, Oklahoma, is completely random.

Steadman testified he was surprised when he learned Rogers never had a round in the chamber of the gun Rogers was using to hold him hostage.

"Immediately I noticed that when it happened, he had to chamber a round. I was relieved at that point to know that it couldn’t accidentally go off during the situation, the hostage situation," Steadman said.

The hostage negotiator from the Norman Police Department testified Wednesday the building had an overwhelming smell of gun smoke, from where Rogers had fired through a door to barricade himself inside a room.

Ultimately, the district attorney was able to communicate with Rogers through the hostage negotiator, and then situation ended safely.

Thankfully no one was hurt that day.

Those who were inside remember what is was like to reunite with their families.

"The receptionist was crying, and we were all crying together. It was really difficult," Steadman said.

Rogers said he wanted to go to jail, and he did.

Prosecutors say Rogers needs to be held accountable for his actions.

"I would like to see Mr. Rogers locked up for a long time. He used his military tactical skills to take a building, he’s got a duty being prior military himself in protecting the american people, protecting us, and he took advantage of that," Steadman said.

Rogers is charged with several counts, including kidnapping for extortion.

Prosecutors will continue presenting their case Thursday.

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