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Robert Earnest ROZIER






A.K.A.: "Neriah Israel"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Member of the black supremacist cult, the Temple of Love
Number of victims: 4 - 7
Date of murders: 1981 - 1986
Date of arrest: October 31, 1986
Date of birth: July 28, 1955
Victims profile: White men
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Florida/New Jersey/Missouri, USA
Status: In a Florida plea bargain, Rozier had pleaded guilty to four murders and confessed to three others but won a reduced prison term for testifying against Miami sect leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh and his cult. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 1986. He served 10 years of a 22-year sentence, then was released with a new name and identity

Robert Earnest Rozier (born July 28, 1955, in Anchorage, Alaska), was a professional football player for the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL.

After leaving the league, he became involved with "The Brotherhood", an alleged cult led by Yahweh ben Yahweh. He is currently serving 25 years to life on a conviction for check kiting under a third strike law.

Early years and Football

Born in Alaska, Rozier attended Cordova High School in Sacramento, California. He then attended Aberdeen Junior College before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley, where he played defensive end for the football team.

He was drafted in the 9th round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals (pick 228 overall). He played in only six games before being releaed, allegedly for issues involving drugs.

Yahweh ben Yahweh

After a series of petty crimes, Rozier found Yahweh ben Yahweh's "Temple of Love" in 1982. After first serving a six month prison sentence, he moved into the temple full time, and changed his name to "Neariah Israel", or child of god.

In 1985, he decided to join "The Brotherhood", Yahweh's secret group, that required murdering a "white devil" and returning with a body part to join. Rozier would admit to killing seven people to please Yahweh.

He was arrested and charged with murder on October 31, 1986. After agreeing to testify against Yahweh's organization, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison. After serving ten years in prison, Rozier was set free in 1996.


Rozier was placed in the witness protection program under the name Robert Ramses. On Feb. 5, 1999, he was arrested for passing a bad check for $66 to pay for a car repair.

After finding Rozier's true identity, police discovered a trail of 29 bounced checks totaling more than $2,000, and charged him with a felony. He was convicted, and under a third strike law, Judge Eddie T. Keller sentenced Rozier to serve 25 years to life.


Rozier, Robert

A star football player at UC Berkeley, Rozier was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals but quit the team after playing two games as a pro. He moved on to the Canadian Football League, then signed up briefly with the Oakland Raiders, but his will to win had disappeared somewhere along the way. Cut from the squad, Rozier drifted around the country for several years before joining the black-supremacist Hebrew Israelite sect in 1981. The cult had been founded a year earlier, by Eulon Mitchell, Jr. - alias Yahweh ben Yahweh -who billed himself as the son of God incarnate. As a new recruit, Rozier adopted the name of "Neriah Israel." 

Trouble was already dogging Rozier's footsteps, with Canadian authorities investigating $50,000 worth of bad checks passed in his CFL days, but the worst was yet to come. In 1981, the Yaweh sect was linked with the murder of two ex-members in Florida, and cultists were suspected of firebombing homes in Delray Beach, after residents clashed with Yaweh recruiters. 

By 1986, authorities estimated that there were 300 active cult members in Miami and Dade County, with other groups springing up nationwide. 

In November 1986, Rozier was arrested on multiple murder charges in Miami, linked with the October 30 shooting deaths of Rudolph Broussard and Anthony Brown. (Rozier listed his age as "404 years" on the arrest report.) The victims had staunchly resisted cult efforts to take over their apartment complex, but other crimes charged against Rozier had no such obvious motives. 

Detectives reported that Rozier's fingerprints had been found at the scene of two random murders where transients were killed, their ears sliced off, and press releases linked him with at least five murders in Miami and environs. At this writing, authorities in St. Louis and New York City are studying Rozier's possible involvement in other unsolved homicides. 

He has been sentenced to 22 years in Florida.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


'80s cult killer gets 'third strike' term for passing bad checks

Sacramento Bee

Jan. 13, 2001

The heinous deeds and bizarre, once-hidden past of Robert Rozier formally caught up with him Friday.

After a spirited, emotion-filled hearing in a Placerville courtroom, an El Dorado County judge sentenced the former Miami cult executioner and protected federal witness to 25 years to life in state prison, concluding one of the strangest bounced-check cases ever.

Rozier, a former Cordova High School and University of California, Berkeley, football star, was arrested for passing bad checks nearly two years ago in a quiet, wooded Cameron Park subdivision where he was living anonymously as Robert Rameses -- his secret identity under the federal witness protection program.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Eddie T. Keller -- saying that ''words like depraved, vicious, ruthless and callous come to mind'' -- sentenced Rozier to the maximum term under California's ''three strikes'' sentencing law for bouncing 27 checks totaling $2,200.

In reality, the sentencing and the intense arguments in court had little to do with bounced checks.

Rather, they had to do with the fact that the same man who owned a Sacramento auto-detailing business, worked odd construction jobs in El Dorado County and regularly stopped in for drinks at a roadside tavern in Coloma was also an admitted seven-time murderer.

In a Florida plea bargain, Rozier had pleaded guilty to four murders and confessed to three others but won a reduced prison term for testifying against Miami sect leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh and his cult, blamed for at least 23 murders and a series of firebombings in the 1980s.

As Rozier watched intently Friday, defense attorney William T. Yankey waved his arms emotionally and argued that his client never should have been subjected to sentencing under the ''three strikes'' law because of the service he provided the U.S. government in risking his life to testify against the Miami cult.


Finally, Yankey argued that Rozier was a reformed man who long ago had been brainwashed into killing by Yahweh Ben Yahweh, a charismatic cult leader who exhorted his followers to seek retribution for 400 years of persecution of African Americans. He even likened Rozier to Lieutenant William Calley, the officer -- who now lives freely -- who was convicted in the My Lai massacre for killing of hundreds of civilians in Vietnam.


As he pronounced sentencing, Keller lectured Rozier, telling him he had blown an unbelievable opportunity for freedom after serving 10 years in prison for his murder convictions.

''It was probably one of the greatest gifts, Mr. Rameses. You were home free. Free of the death penalty. Free of those cults. And you went back to committing crimes,'' Keller said.


Check case may trip up former cult killer

By Peter Hecht - Sacramento Bee

May 15, 2000

He has spent more than 15 months waiting in jail -- ever since the strange web of his many lives unraveled for all to know.

Robert Rozier, 44, who was arrested in his wooded Cameron Park neighborhood Feb. 5, 1999, on what was then just a misdemeanor bounced-check case, idles away in a South Lake Tahoe jail awaiting a trial that could keep him behind bars for the rest of his years.

His trial has been delayed repeatedly, now pushed back to the end of June. He's gone through four defense attorneys in a month. He says he fears for his safety because of contacts between an El Dorado County prosecutor and an attorney for a religious sect that he claims wants him dead. He charges that his prosecution violates a plea bargain he made long ago to become a star witness for the U.S. government.

If nothing else, Rozier -- a former Cordova High and University of California, Berkeley, football player who went on to become a multiple killer for a Miami cult, then a protected federal witness and ultimately a homeowner living freely in the suburban foothills east of Sacramento -- is giving quiet El Dorado County one of its longest, strangest legal epics.

At first, his case seemed unremarkable: A man named Robert Rameses was picked up after a manager of a Cameron Park auto parks store complained about a bounced $66 check for brake shoes. As far as anyone knew, Rameses was someone who owned a Sacramento auto detailing business, worked construction jobs and stopped in for drinks at the Coloma Club, a roadside tavern on rural Highway 49.

Then he volunteered to detectives that Rameses was the name he took under the secretive federal Witness Protection Program. Before that, he was Bobby Rozier, a football player whose brief National Football League career with the former St. Louis Cardinals flamed out amid allegations of drug use. In between, he was a cult executioner named Neariah Israel, or "Child of God."

In Florida, Rozier pleaded guilty to four murders and confessed to three other killings to win a reduced prison term in exchange for testimony against Miami sect leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh and members of a religious order that federal prosecutors blamed for at least 23 murders and a series of firebombings in the 1980s. He served 10 years of a 22-year sentence, then was released with a new name and identity.

"I took them (El Dorado detectives) into confidence and let them know who I was," Rozier said in a recent interview. "I was a guy who had cooperated with several police agencies and the United States government. I figured they'd think, 'Let's not blow his cover with a check charge.'"

Instead, El Dorado authorities upgraded his misdemeanor case to felony check fraud and tracked a total of 29 bounced checks totaling more than $2,000 for such things as video rentals, groceries, tires and his bar tab. Rozier claims there was a bank error. Authorities say he knowingly wrote checks on a closed account.

Prosecutor Paul Sutherland -- now seeking a conviction to put him away for 25 years to life -- says Rozier's violent past offers perhaps the most searing argument for California's "three strikes" law, which allows a life sentence even if the third offense isn't a serious or violent felony.

After the check case blew Rozier's cover -- and revealed a heinous past -- the presense of the high-profile defendant in El Dorado County and aggressive tactics by defense attorneys over months of pretrial motions drew an uncomfortable spotlight to the mostly rural county.

During pretrial hearings, Rozier's original attorney, William T. Yankey, put a procession of Placerville county jail commanders and correctional officers on the witness stand to establish that jailers had opened several pieces of Rozier's legal mail in violation of jail policy. He protested practices that kept Rozier shackled at the legs, waist and hands as he was moved about the facility. And he subpoenaed officers to testify about a shooting drill in which volleys of birdshot were fired directly outside inmate cells,

including Rozier's. Sutherland put himself on the witness stand and denied receiving any information on confidential defense strategies from opened inmate mail. El Dorado County Sheriff Hal Barker criticized the shooting drill and said it shouldn't have been conducted while inmates were present. But El Dorado County Judge Eddie T. Keller ruled that the defense issues didn't merit dismissing the case.

Soon afterward, Sutherland disclosed he'd had phone conversations with an attorney for the Yahweh Ben Yahweh sect. This infuriated the defense, which contends Rozier is under a death threat from Yahweh followers who condemn him as a Judas who betrayed their leader to the U.S. government.

Sutherland said he'd had "five or six phone conversations," with Texas attorney Wendy Rush, who appears on a Yahweh Nation videotape calling Rozier a "pathological liar." Sutherland said he had accepted Rush's offer to provide him with transcripts of Rozier's Florida testimony, but notified the court when the lawyer said a Yahweh representative might want to visit the trial.

"Oh, my goodness. There's a huge contract out on my life," said Rozier, reacting to the cult's contact with the prosecution.

Disavowing his Florida past, Rozier insists he was brainwashed and ordered to kill by cult leader Yahweh, who claimed to be "God on planet Earth."

Rozier says that while in federal custody -- spirited between detention facilities and housed among the likes of Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder Rivas and Mafia killer "Sammy the Bull" Gravano -- he earned a college degree, mastered five languages and spiritually rebuilt his life.

Rozier was set loose in 1996 after testifying against Yahweh Ben Yahweh -- a cult leader born as Hulon Mitchell Jr. -- and other members of the Yahweh sect. Yahweh was sentenced to 18 years in prison after a jury convicted him of conspiracy but deadlocked on more serious charges of masterminding cult murders.

Yankey, Rozier's first attorney, argued that his client had served his country in the same manner as "Sammy the Bull," the multiple killer who won lenient treatment for testimony that convicted Mafia boss John Gotti of racketeering and murder.

After Rozier's trial was moved from Cameron Park to South Lake Tahoe because of news coverage in western El Dorado County, Yankey -- citing a stress-related medical condition -- requested a delay just as jury selection was to begin in March. El Dorado Judge Suzanne N. Kingsbury removed him as defense counsel and ordered a hearing on possible sanctions against him.

Two other defense lawyers briefly took the case, including Sacramento lawyer Angelo Vitale, who immediately launched an attempt to subpoena U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who was the Florida state attorney in Miami when Rozier's plea bargain agreement was signed. But Kingsbury later appointed a local lawyer, El Dorado County attorney Lori London, to represent Rozier. London declined comment on the case.

After his arrest in Cameron Park, Rozier was indicted by New Jersey authorities in the 1984 stabbing death of a 52-year-old Newark man, whose killing was allegedly committed as a religious sacrifice for the Yahweh cult. His New Jersey attorney, Herb Waldman, said Rozier -- then an elder for a Yahweh temple in Newark -- witnessed the killing and identified two assailants to authorities but didn't participate.

El Dorado County District Attorney Gary Lacy said he fears New Jersey authorities may have a hard time winning a 16-year-old murder case and declares that the best chance to put Rozier away is the bad check case in his county. He vows to finish it before turning Rozier over to New Jersey for prosecution.

"I look at it as my responsibility to do my job without relying on other people to do their job," Lacy said.

Rozier remains in jail in the bad check case in lieu of $10 million bail -- 10 times the bail amount in the New Jersey homicide. He said he's sick of the wait in El Dorado County and would rather be shipped east to take his chances.

"The United States government says this man has a whole new identity," Rozier said, referring to himself. "And El Dorado County says, 'No, he doesn't.' ... If you have a man with a homicide charge, why spend this much on a check case? It should have been taken care of a long time ago."


Robert Rozier

March 24, 1999

New Jersey prosecutors charged Robert Rozier, a former National Football League player, with stabbing a homeless white man to death in Newark as a sacrifice to Yahweh Ben Yahweh, the leader of the black supremacist cult, the Temple of Love. Prosecutors said Rozier, 43, stabbed Attilio Cicala in 1984 as a sacrifice a few days before the cult's leader was to visit Newark. Rozier, who admitted killing seven people, presently is in jail in California on $1 million bail.


Convicted killer, former football player, says he's sorry for slaying

Associated Press

March 6, 1999

CAMERON PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say former NFL player Robert Rozier set out to become an angel of death as an executioner for a Miami cult leader.

Convicted of four murders, but given a reduced sentence for cooperating with authorities in Florida and then given a new identity and released in the federal witness protection program, Rozier now says he has "total remorse" for his actions as Neariah Israel and says he rebuilt his life in an intense spiritual and intellectual transformation.

The former University of California defensive lineman played six games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979 before his career fizzled out amid allegations of drug use and petty crime. But by 1986, he says he had been reborn as Neariah Israel, "Child of God."

In a confession, Rozier said that to prove himself to Yahweh Ben Yahweh, he descended into Miami's Coconut Grove district and repeatedly stabbed an intoxicated man and his roommate until they died. He ultimately pleaded guilty to four other murders in Florida and confessed to three more.

Rozier, 43, was living anonymously in Cameron Park when El Dorado County deputies arrested him last month for allegedly bouncing checks.

He is now in custody under the name Robert Rameses, his once-secret identity under the federal witness protection program. His hidden past now public, Rozier says his life is in danger.

In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Rozier disavowed his past. Neariah Israel "is long, long dead," he said. "I don't know how else to explain it, but that person is gone."

El Dorado authorities say the Rozier case raises troubling questions about the ultra-secret witness protection program. And his arrest triggers a test of California's "three strikes" sentencing law.

While conceding that without his criminal background Rozier would only be charged with a misdemeanor, prosecutors are seeking felony charges to put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

After 10 years in prison, Rozier was set free with a new identity in 1996, his payoff for testifying against Yahweh Ben Yahweh and other leaders of a sect blamed for at least 23 killings and a series of firebombings in the 1980s.

"He is probably their most hated enemy," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Scruggs, who prosecuted the Yahweh case. "He is their Judas, their enemy number one."

Rozier says El Dorado authorities should have let him quietly return to his life as Robert Rameses. He owned a Sacramento auto detailing business, dabbled in Internet Web-page design and helped to raise two children.

But a judge set Rozier's bail at $10 million.

"I think this case really tests the limits of the `three-strikes' law," said prosecutor Paul Sutherland. "We're going to do everything we can to put him away. It's just unfortunate that the state of Florida couldn't do this."

Rozier's attorneys say their client paid his debt by risking his life to testify against the sect. But El Dorado prosecutors contend Rozier's past as cult henchman for a sect that advocated a race war against "white devils," but mostly targeted African Americans who resisted its influence, is simply too horrible to ignore.

Rozier said he was mesmerized into violence by Yahweh Ben Yahweh -- born Hulon Mitchell Jr. -- who called himself "God the son of God." Rozier said he was ordered to kill by "a very intelligent Hannibal Lecter" who claimed he was "God on planet Earth."

A federal grand jury indicted Yahweh Ben Yahweh and 16 followers on conspiracy and racketeering charges for murder, arson and extortion. Yahweh was sentenced to 18 years in prison after a jury convicted him of conspiracy but deadlocked on more serious charges. He was acquitted in a state murder case after his lawyers attacked Rozier's credibility.

"It was hammered into us 15 to 16 hours a day about men being lynched and women being smashed down and babies being torn open," Rozier said. "Isn't that how they trained the Marines, by dehumanizing the enemy?

"I am the first to come to grips with what happened," Rozier said. "I am not living in a psychotic world. I'm living in a real world and having to face myself. I have grieved more than any human being can grieve."

El Dorado County Sheriff Hal Barker says he isn't pleased that Rozier ended up in Cameron Park, though he's vowed to protect him now that he's jailed.

But Rozier says the only danger he presents to society is the eagerness of his enemies to kill him.

"This county," he said, "has no idea of the Pandora's box they've opened."


Rozier, Robert

(?- )

AKA: Neriah Israel


DATE(S): 1981-86

VENUE: Fla./N.Y./Mo.

VICTIMS: Seven+ suspected

MO: Enforcer for the Hebrew Israelite cult; killed cult defectors and opponents; at least one victim killed from personal spite.

DISPOSITION: 22-year sentence in Fla., 1987.


Robert Rozier yearbook photo


Robert Rozier under arrest



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