EDWARDSVILLE — In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, a man whose abuse of his daughter caused her death years later was sentenced on Thursday to serve 40 years in prison.
Torrance Rogers, 31, of Edwardsville pleaded guilty in 1999 to shaking his 10-week-old daughter, Taylor Pinkas. Taylor suffered severe brain damage and significant medical problems, but lived another 10 years before dying of pneumonia in 2009.
Shortly thereafter, Rogers was charged with first-degree murder. He had already served 7 1/2 years of a 15-year sentence for attempted aggravated battery of a child.
In a bench trial in July, Rogers' attorney argued that shaken baby syndrome might not exist, and if it did, might not have caused Taylor's death. Prosecutors argued that her medical problems stemmed directly from being shaken by her father. Rogers was found guilty of first-degree murder.
Taylor's aunt and caregiver, Debbie Dycus, formed the National Shaken Baby Association while caring for Taylor. She said as far as the group members know, this is the first delayed-death murder conviction in a shaken-baby case. A similar case in St. Louis, involving a babysitter who shook a 2-month-old girl, resulted in a plea bargain that reduced the charge to manslaughter.
"We will not rest until we get the greatest measure of justice for the victims of crime, especially the most vulnerable among us," said Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons. "Children are our most precious resource and we will always fight to protect them."
Prosecutor Susan Jensen requested a 40-year sentence; Rogers could have been sentenced to up to 60 years. He will receive credit for the 7 1/2 years he served on his previous conviction.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at email@example.com or 239-2501.