NEWS: US
REBECCA HOGUE
mother sentenced to 16 months in prison after her lover killed her son.

February 12, 2022, 11:57 am

An Amer­i­can woman whose boyfriend killed her son while she was at work has been sen­tenced to 16 months in prison.

Rebec­ca Hogue, 29, was con­vict­ed in Novem­ber of the first-degree mur­der of her two-year-old son Ryder under Okla­homa’s “fail­ure to pro­tect” laws.

A jury rec­om­mend­ed she be sen­tenced to life in prison, but a judge sus­pend­ed the sen­tence at 16 months.

That means she will spend 13 months behind bars, due to time already served.

Speak­ing at her sen­tenc­ing, Hogue said she would do any­thing to turn back the clock and pre­vent her son’s death.

“I was so proud to have such a beau­ti­ful, strong, smart, healthy child,” Hogue said, accord­ing to the Nor­man Transcript.

“The only thing in two years that brought me peace was that the man who did this is dead. I know my child is in heav­en and [for­mer boyfriend Trent] is nowhere near him.”

Sen­tenc­ing Hogue, Judge Michael Tup­per told her that she “did­n’t deserve to die in prison.”

“You are not a mon­ster,” the judge con­tin­ued. “You have val­ue and you have worth.”

Hogue’s case gained atten­tion from the media and wom­en’s rights groups after she was charged with first-degree mur­der under the state’s con­tro­ver­sial “fail­ure to pro­tect” law. In Okla­homa, par­ents who fail to pro­tect their chil­dren from abuse can be charged with the same crimes as the actu­al abuser.

Ryder was found dead on New Year’s Day 2020. Hogue — who had returned from a 12-hour shift at a bar in the wee hours of the morn­ing — woke up to find him life­less. His boyfriend, Christo­pher Trent, was missing.

Four days after Ryder’s death, police found Tren­t’s body in the Wichi­ta moun­tains after an appar­ent sui­cide. The words “Rebec­ca is inno­cent” were carved into a near­by tree.

A coro­ner’s report con­clud­ed that Ryder’s cause of death was blunt force trau­ma, and pros­e­cu­tors lat­er said it was clear that Trent had killed him.

Hogue said she had no idea Trent was abus­ing Ryder until his death, although she had begun to notice the boy had unex­plained minor injuries.

But pros­e­cu­tors said Hogue had searched her phone for warn­ing signs that a child might be abused, sug­gest­ing she thought her son might be in danger.

The jury was pro­hib­it­ed from see­ing an image of the carved tree dur­ing the tri­al, which was con­sid­ered hearsay, or lis­ten­ing to a record­ing of the lead detec­tive in the inves­ti­ga­tion say­ing he doubt­ed Hogue had com­mit­ted a crime.

Hogue’s attor­ney, Andrew Casey, told the BBC that his fam­i­ly was “incred­i­bly relieved” by the “just sentence.”

“We are heart­bro­ken that this case has gone this far and are sin­cere­ly frus­trat­ed that this charge ever went to tri­al,” he said.

“We are grate­ful to have Rebec­ca back soon.”

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