Life in prison would be the punishment that Rebecca Hogue, of Oklahoma, would initially face for the murder of her son, Ryder, 2, at the hands of her boyfriend Christopher Trent. According to an affidavit, seen by BBC Mundo, after a long day of work, Rebecca Hogue came home exhausted and the first thing she did was take off her work clothes and get into bed; next to her was her son and boyfriend.
At dawn, Rebecca Hogue noticed her son was not breathing and called 911 for help; by that time her boyfriend Christopher Trent was no longer home, apparently he had gone to work. When rescuers arrived at the scene they found the desperate mother trying to revive her little one. The minor was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. According to the aforementioned media, the former waitress of a casino in the city of Norman called Christopher Trent on several occasions to tell him what had happened, however, she had no answer.
The forensic report concluded that Ryder died from trauma caused by a blunt object; Investigators found traces of the minor’s hair on the wall of the home Rebecca Hogue and Christopher Trent shared. Four days after Ryder’s death, police found Christopher Trent’s body in the mountains of Wichita with apparent signs of suicide, plus a message carved into a tree trunk that read, “Rebecca is innocent.”
He even searched the internet on several occasions if the minor’s injuries were natural, for an assault and even for sexual abuse, however, Trent denied again and again that he was hurting the minor. Although one of the prosecutors once pointed out that there was no direct evidence to incriminate Rebecca Hogue of her son’s murder and that it was Christopher Trent who committed the crime, the jury found otherwise. After looking at the images of the minor being beaten all over his body, including his genitals, the jury determined that the woman should pay for the crime with a life sentence.
To his case is added the law of “Lack of protection”; under some state law, parents who fail to protect their children from abuse are charged with the same crime committed against minors. However, this Friday during a hearing the case took an unexpected turn. “Ryder was my whole existence. Without my son, my world has been torn apart. He would have done anything to prevent the abuse that occurred. I don’t want to die in a jail cell,” Rebeca Hogue said during sentencing.
Following the clemency of the victim’s mother, Judge Michael Tupper sentenced Hogue to 16 months in prison with three months served. “You are not a monster, you have courage. Years is not a proportional punishment, months is fairer. Each month will be representative of a year in which you would have been legally responsible for Ryder,” Tupper said while handing down Hogue’s sentence.
“Rebecca is innocent”
Several reports reported that in a tree trunk, located very close to where Trent’s body was found, the phrase “Rebecca is innocent” was carved, a statement that was considered part of a ‘rumor’ and the distribution of those images was prohibited, according to the BBC. In that sense, after learning of the death of the man, who was listed as the main suspect in the crime, the rest of the investigation focused on Hogue.
Trial of Rebecca Hogue
After the cause of death was known, the child’s mother ended up being tried. The ruling lasted eight days and culminated in a jury’s recommendation to sentence the woman to life in prison with the possibility of conditional release. That’s because she may have allowed those pre-death abuses. However, the charge against him was first-degree murder.
The jury that reviewed the case in June 2020 found Rebecca Hogue guilty of her son’s death because she knew — apparently — of the violence against the baby and still kept leaving him in the care of her partner.
The Prosecutor’s Office detailed that Rebecca Hogue took photographs of her injured child and asked for explanations from her boyfriend, who was right to say that the baby was hurt due to his hyperactivity, typical of his age.
Meanwhile, state legislation, according to local media, says that allowing child abuse is a serious crime that can be punished as well as the abuse itself