Prosecutors face challenges as Crystal Rogers case moves forward

Brooks William Houck, 41, of Bardstown, was taken into custody September 27, 2023 after he was...
Brooks William Houck, 41, of Bardstown, was taken into custody September 27, 2023 after he was indicted by a Nelson County Grand Jury on murder and tampering with physical evidence charges in the disappearance of Crystal Rogers.(WAVE)
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 1:05 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An arrest has been made in the Crystal Rogers case, but it’s expected to be the beginning of a lengthy legal process.

Rogers’ former boyfriend, Brooks Houck, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with her murder, even though her body has never been found.

Criminal defense attorney Leland Hulbert says it can be a challenging case for the Commonwealth.

He says without the body, there is no physical proof of the cause of death, which can help Houck in the case. The indictment is sealed, so Hulbert said we can only speculate what came to light, to lead to the arrest.

“My guess is there’s someone who is now giving a statement or corroborating with them,” he said. “Or they found some scientific evidence or they have some credible tip.”

He said time is also in Houck’s favor.

After eight years, witnesses can disappear, police officers can retire, and evidence can go missing.

Despite these unique challenges, Hulbert says there must be enough evidence that makes the prosecution confident the case will end in a conviction.

“The Commonwealth has this large burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and they know that,” he said. “The prosecution is typically not going to push forward a case they know they can’t prove.”

Hulbert says it’s also likely the case will be moved out of Nelson County if it goes to trial, due to the publicity.

More details could be revealed during Houck’s first court appearance on Oct. 5.