SBS: Torrance Rogers gets 40 years in shaken baby's death
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 7:55 pm | Updated: 8:05 pm, Thu Oct 11, 2012.
By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT The Telegraph
EDWARDSVILLE - The mother of a murdered child, who initially stood up for the killer, testified against him Thursday at a hearing in which a judge sentenced the defendant to 40 years in prison.
"He killed my baby three times," said Jodi Pinkas, formerly of Edwardsville, the mother of Taylor Nicole Rogers, who later was known as Taylor Pinkas.
Jodi Pinkas testified Thursday in Madison County Circuit Court at the sentencing of her former boyfriend, Torrance Rogers, 31, who was convicted of first-degree murder after a bench trial in July. The child died in 2009 at the age of 9 after being shaken by Rogers 10 years earlier while living in Edwardsville.
The baby was born healthy on Feb. 6, 1999, but was shaken severely after she was left with Rogers.
While the child still was alive, Rogers pleaded guilty of aggravated battery to a child and was sentenced in 2001 to 15 years in prison.
During the initial proceedings, the mother gave an account that did not line up with hard evidence in the case and was uncooperative. She eventually lost her parental rights, and the child's aunt, Debbie Dycus of Edwardsville, took over her care.
Dycus struggled for nine years to keep the child alive and started a nationwide support group for families of babies with shaken baby syndrome. After the child died, Rogers was brought back to Madison County Circuit Court in July for a bench trial on a first-degree murder charge.
During the July bench trial, Pinkas said she realized she had been wrong and wanted justice for her child.
In explaining her statement Thursday that Rogers killed her baby three times, she testified that the first time was when the child originally was shaken, and she thought she had lost the little girl at that time. The second time was when she lost parental rights, and the third time was when her daughter actually died.
Assistant Madison County State's Attorney Susan Jensen asked the judge to consider how much suffering Rogers caused the family and the child, who lost 95 percent of her brain function.
Rogers never owned up to his crime, she argued.
"The first time, he said he shook her a little; the second time he was interviewed, he said he shook her to wake her up," Jensen said.
The medical reports reveal a child who was shaken severely and never regained her health.
The result was Taylor's death from pneumonia after the long struggle to keep her alive. The judge agreed with Jensen's suggestion for a 40-year sentence.
Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said he is happy with the sentence. He praised Jensen, Victim Advocate Desi Jellen and the Edwardsville Police Department for their parts in the case. He also credited the medical personnel for their efforts.
"The Madison County State's Attorney's Office never gives up," Gibbons said. "We will not rest until we get the greatest measure of justice for the victims of crime, especially the most vulnerable among us."