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Boy was killed by his mother's boyfriend and it was she who had to go to jail

Mother receives prison sentence despite evidence of innocence

Veronica Morao
11 min read
Mother receives punishment for the murder of her son

Rebeca Hogue worked as a waitress in a casino in the city of Norman, Oklahoma. On December 31, 2019, he had to do his work for 12 hours, he arrived home in the early hours of the new year.

Upon arrival, she changed and slept with her 2-year-old son Ryder and her boyfriend until she fell sound asleep.

When he woke up, he realized that his son was not breathing. By this time her boyfriend, Christopher Trent, had already left for work, so she proceeded in her panic to call the police.

When the police arrived at the house, they found Rebeca, practicing first aid on the child. Despite that, upon arrival at the hospital, he was pronounced dead.

The cause of the baby's death was determined by a coroner and indicated that it had been due to trauma caused by a "blunt object". In the investigation, they found Ryder's hair on the wall of the house where she and her mom's boyfriend lived.

The child's mother said she did not know what had happened to the child. She immediately called her boyfriend to ask him to come to the hospital for a meeting. However, Trent never answered calls or messages.

Four days later, the body of Christopher Trent was recovered in Wichita, southwestern Oklahoma, after apparently committing suicide. In the place where he was found, he had carved “Rebeca is innocent” on the tree.

Therefore, months later, a prosecutor found Trent guilty of Ryder's death. With the culprit being dead, the investigation passes to Rebeca, who was later charged with first-degree murder.

This measure is taken because the legislation of some states in the United States indicates that parents who were not at the time to protect their children from abuse will be blamed for any crime committed against minors.

evidence of possible guilt

This case was the center of attention of different groups in charge of defending the rights of women and the media, in which the consequences that the accused have and the limitations of the law so that the victims of domestic abuse are protected.

Last fall, Rebeca's trial was held, in which they tried to persuade the jury to accept that she always knew about the abuse, but never did anything to stop it.

The minor's mother assured in her statements to the police that she did not know that her partner had beaten the child the day before.

However, he had noticed that Ryder had small wounds on his body and he didn't know the reason. Upon seeing him, he took photos of him and searched the internet for information to find out if he had been beaten.

When talking to Trent about what was happening, he simply told him that it could have been while he was playing.

When she gave him a bath two days before he died, she could see her son looking a little sleepy, and Trent told her that the little boy had the flu.

Later, he decided to investigate flu symptoms and look deeper if all this really was the product of abuse. I was a little scared because she used to attract aggressive men.

The prosecutor upon learning all this information, confirmed that she knew what was happening and still never stopped Trent from violent abuse.

However, Hogue defended herself by saying that this search was carried out in this way because she did not want to raise suspicions and really believed in the version that her boyfriend told her.

In the police report it could be seen that the prosecutors assured that she believed what Trent told her because he was manipulating her. Therefore, it was concluded that knowing that the boy had those bruises and allowing Trent to continue taking care of her, meant that she was allowing the murder of her little boy.

Tests that were not accepted

Rebeca Hogue was arrested for the murder of her son Ryder

Andrew Casey, Rebeca Hogue's lawyer, assured that there was much evidence indicating that she was not guilty, but this was not accepted at trial.

One of the pieces of evidence is the writing on the tree in which her boyfriend, before committing suicide, indicated that Rebeca was innocent. These were taken as mere rumours. Even the detective who was handling the case was prohibited from giving his opinion on the matter, in addition to showing an audio in which he argued with a friend of Rebeca.

In the audio you could hear the statement in which he indicated to his team that there is not enough evidence to accuse the victim of " lack of protection ", in a crime of first degree murder.

In many states of the United States there is a law called " Protection Law ", which is disapproved by many people, since it blames people who have suffered domestic violence who are afraid to flee the environment.

The detective, Sean Judy, said they don't believe in guilt, adding that there is a possibility that she is being detained solely because of the system. Following this, the Norman County police and detective decided not to comment on the audio.

The prosecutor's office, in order to prevent any kind of problem in their handling of the jury, decided to evade police indictment or require the jury to decide whether to press charges. The jury decided to favor the prosecution.

The testimony of a specialist was not heard by the jury. The expert would explain how Hogue's past experiences had affected his judgment. Thus showing that the main reason is that the attacker did it against the baby and not against Rebeca.

Rebecca's life

Rebeca's trial was carried out quickly and in two hours she was found guilty.

In the course of the event, the images of the blows that the little boy had were constantly shown, including the photographs of his genitals in which the blows he received by Trent were shown.

Until now, Hogue awaits the sentence of his case and assures that the images constantly appear in his head. In addition, she stressed that everything they said in the trial will haunt her forever.

The young woman was an only child, so the only time she lived with a baby was when she gave birth to whom she still defines as "best friend". Rebecca comments that even though Ryder was only two and a half years old, he had a good sense of humor.

Hogue had no prior criminal record and will now spend many years in the Oklahoma state prison, where there is a high rate of female detainees.

At trial, the jury asked for life in prison and the possibility of applying for parole, after his 38 years in prison. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections suggested that she defer her sentence, attend mandatory counseling and not be transferred to prison.

Rebeca insists that, after all this, Reyder will not be remembered for his essence, but will be remembered for the drama that was experienced in the trial.

Constant domestic abuse in the United States

In different states of the United States they have laws that penalize in a civil or criminal manner, the absence of protection of a minor who is abused.

These punishments can be going to therapy or spending years in jail. In the Oklahoma case, he could even get life in prison.

The American media Buzzfeed, showed as a result of an investigation that, in 11 states, there are 28 cases of mothers who received sentences of 10 years or more in prison.

Specialist opinion

The legal director of the Foundation for the Defense of Battered Women in the US, Cindene Pezzel, indicated that the laws have managed to separate families, since women who have been victims of domestic violence have been punished.

Many times, these women end up being guilty, for not taking their children to hospitals, not calling the police or bad relationships. This leads them directly to being included in the crime, for fear that the aggressor will take further action.

The duty of parents is to protect their children, but in these cases, those who are victims of domestic abuse, are between the dangerous and something more dangerous, Pezzel said.

At this time there is no number of women who have been accused of this crime, like Hogue, what is certain is that it is usually women who are harmed in these cases and not men.

The US Civil Liberties Union determined that 93% of women are convicted in these cases.

Approximately 13% of child abuse cases, according to the Department of Child Protection, are defined as "failure to protect the child."

Many times preventing the abused from being mistreated is what causes people to go directly to jail.

similar cases

Tondalao Hall, a 19-year-old woman, in 2006, was charged with failing to protect a minor, in Oklahoma. The real culprit, her boyfriend, was in charge of beating her and threatening her, her sons and her daughter. The man received a 10-year sentence and only spent two years in prison.

Instead, Tondalao received 30 years in prison. However, as a result of an investigation, the freedom committee waived her main sentence of 15 years in prison, and later, she was released, serving only 15 years in prison.

This case highlighted the regulatory problems

After this, Thad Balkman, the judge of Hall, assures that the law of lack of protection does not have to receive criticism, in his opinion, since this is a legal and cultural custom of the United States, to ensure the protection of parents with their children.

There is a particular case that always reminds her of the importance of the law: a young woman who knew that her boyfriend was sexually abusing her daughter and she allowed it for years.

signs of violence

Hogue, despite seeing the signs of violence on Ryder's body, did not raise any suspicions, since she did not see Trent as a violent person, for the simple fact that he did not mistreat her.

What Trent told Rebekah about the injuries, however, were small signs of "gaslighting," according to domestic violence advocate at the Reproductive Justice advocacy group, Stacey Wright. Her trust in him kept the abuse undiscovered.

Trent showed her excessive love, which is normally used by abusers when they start a relationship. In this way, his partner trusts and depends on him. Over time, Hogue realized this.

The legal director of the Foundation for the Defense of Battered Women in the USA indicates that there are different forms of violence. Women who have had episodes of domestic violence are victims of future abuse from their next partners.

Rebecca's Relationships

Ryder's father and Rebeca did not have a good relationship, so they decided to separate. Rebeca, always had violent relationships.

Six months before Ryder's death, Christopher Trent and Rebekah Hogue met through a mobile app. Their first date was at a party, with Rebeca's friends, so they could meet him. At this party, Trent seemed like a good man, since he only drank water during the night and when taking her home, Rebekah decides to introduce him to Ryder.

At that time, both were well received. Trent caught up with Ryder as he talked to him and told him jokes.

After a while, they decide to live together. Trent showed a lot of affection for Ryder and decided to get their two names tattooed on his chest, as well as telling Rebekah that he wanted to adopt him.

Rebeca wanted me to help her because being a single mother of a baby was a bit complicated.

After this, Hogue just said that he wished he had hit her for her to get away and get away from all the damage.

Right now, Rebekah Hogue hopes that people will change their minds about her son's murder, since she is not the guilty one.



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