Skip to comments.Prosecutor: Baby left to die for 8 days
Posted on 02/21/2008 10:40:12 AM PST by LibWhacker
Parents of 5-month-old appear in court to face first-degree murder charges, may be facing death penalty
PEORIA - Benjamin Sargent died with his eyes open, fists clenched and strapped into a car seat after eight days without food or water, the county's top prosecutor said Wednesday.
The 5-month-old was dropped off at his parents' house on Feb. 4, wearing a bright-blue snow suit and strapped into his car seat. Eight days later, he was found in the same position, said Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons during a bond hearing for the parents, who are charged with capital murder for their son's death.
"It's the worst case of child neglect we have seen since the turn of this century," Lyons said afterward. "(On Tuesday), I told (Peoria Police) Chief (Steven) Settingsgaard that this case even rattled me."
Charged are Tracy D. Hermann, 21, and James E. Sargent, 23, both of 3012 W. Proctor St., with two counts of first-degree murder. Additionally, the charges state the parents' actions or lack thereof, were "brutal and heinous . . . indicative of wanton cruelty," factors that could mean they face up to 100 years in prison if convicted.
Lyons also said he might seek the death penalty for the two and has 120 days to make such a decision. State law allows a capital charge if the accused is older than 17 and the victim is younger than 12.
"He died from starvation due to neglect from these two defendants, his parents," Lyons said, spitting out the last word with contempt.
Several courthouse employees gathered in the third-floor courtroom for the hearing; many curious as rumors had been circulating throughout the day about the case. When the two walked into the room, the idle chatter immediately stopped and all eyes stared at Sargent and Hermann.
During the 20-minute hearing, both parents appeared before Circuit Judge Glenn Collier. Sargent said virtually nothing and carried a blank look on his face. Hermann told Collier her attorney was in Hawaii so she requested a court-appointed lawyer.
Collier ordered the two held without bond, pending a hearing Friday afternoon when it is expected that Lyons, who has indicated he will prosecute the case, will present more evidence as to why the two should not be released pending trial.
Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said Wednesday afternoon Benjamin weighed 10 pounds when he was found by police. He was nearly eight pounds at birth, she said.
Reading from a prepared statement, Lyons said police found the infant sitting in his own waste, all the while strapped into the seat which was in a crib.
A person who was staying at an unattached garage adjacent to the house had seen Benjamin at some point, thought it was "odd" that he was still on the living room floor after being dropped off and moved him, car seat and all, into the other room.
There Benjamin sat for eight days, most of which both Hermann and Sargent were home, "playing video games, watching TV, feeding and caring for themselves," Lyons said afterward.
Police had interviewed Sargent, who at first told them he had moved the baby "once or twice," but later conceded that he might not have moved Benjamin at all during the week, Lyons said.
"The person from the garage tells police that Benjamin was found just as he had left him eight days earlier," the prosecutor said.
Hermann's last contact with her son was the night before police were notified. Then, she allegedly told police she "looked at the baby in the crib and presumed he was sleeping so she said she stuck a bottle between the baby and the side of the car seat so that when he woke up, he could grab it and feed himself," Lyons said in open court.
"In case the court had missed it earlier, Benjamin Sargent was five months old," he said, staring directly at Hermann.
The house, Lyons said, was in complete disarray, with clothing everywhere and spoiled food left out. The temperature in the baby's room was nearly 80 degrees and was also filthy, he said.
Hermann then left for Iowa to meet with a man she had met over the Internet, the prosecutor said, noting that she allegedly told police "that Benjamin was not her duty and that it was James' responsibility."
When asked if either exhibited signs of mental illness, Lyons said they showed no such signs from the state's point of view.
"Police noted that she seemed callous and somewhat annoyed with the process, something similar to what she showed in the courtroom today," he said.
Prosecutors from Lyons' juvenile division have already begun proceedings to permanently remove Hermann's 3-year-old daughter from the home. That child was staying with another family member but is now in foster care with Department of Family and Children's Services.
Prayers for his little soul.
The baby’s if there is any question. His biological parents don’t have one.
These two need to receive the exact same treatment - strap them into a chair and let them starve to death. These animals should be put down.
THere’s a special place in hell for these two.
Heinous beyond words.
But morally no different than what was done to Terri Schindler Schiavo, or to the babes left to die in Illinois hospitals because of the callous disregard for the unalienable right to life shown by Barack Obama.
This is the Left’s legacy.
I want these 2 to stop using our air. uggh, what kind of parents brought these 2 slime into the world.
put them to death. puhleaze.
The pictures look as if the photographer said, “Now, I want to see a look that will make everyone in America and abroad hate and loathe the sight of you, seeing in your faces the kind of morally clueless, arrogant, callous disgregard that apart from demon possession and be the only possible explanation for this act. Can you do that? Oh, good, good! Hold that expression!”
Sick, sick, sick. I hope they fry.
You need a liscense to:
own a dog
But to have a child....
My thought exactly.
Can you imagine his desolation? These 2 at least would understand that they were being punished. That poor little guy would’ve had no idea.
I don’t understand that somebody went into the home and moved him to another room.
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