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Woman’s Boyfriend Killed Her Baby While She Was At Work – Yet A Judge Sent Her To Jail For Murder

Photo: GoFundMe / YouTube
Rebecca Hogue and son

A mom whose boyfriend abused and killed her son has achieved a small piece of justice after a long legal battle over her involvement in her child's death.

In November 2021, Rebecca Hogue was found guilty of first-degree murder by permitting child abuse. 

Since then she has been awaiting sentencing, which could have meant a life sentence behind bars, even though she claimed she had no idea her 2-year-old son was being abused.

On Friday, February 11, Hogue was sentenced to 16 months in prison, including 3 months already served.

The decision is technically a life sentence with most of the sentence suspended.

This sentence came amid national outrage over how Hogue was being punished for a crime she didn't commit.

Rebecca Hogue was convicted of a murder carried out by her boyfriend.

In the early hours of Jan 1, 2020, Hogue returned from the New Year’s Eve shift at the bar where she worked to her home that she shared with her boyfriend and son in Norman, Oklahoma.

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Christopher Trent was left in charge of Ryder while Hogue was at work and when she came home both appeared to be sleeping.

A few hours after coming home and going to bed, Hogue awoke and noticed Trent was gone before getting up to check on her son.

Hogue discovered her son was dead in his bed.

In a 911 call, Hogue can be heard saying, “Oh my God. He’s cold,” as she realized her son had been lying dead in his bed for several hours.

Police immediately searched for Trent, believing he had murdered Ryder.

Days later, they found Trent’s body, he had died by suicide after carving the words “Rebecca’s innocent” into a nearby tree.

Hogue was convicted under Oklahoma’s controversial ‘failure to protect law.’

The law, which was past two decades ago, is intended to prevent child abuse by making parents liable for abuse by another adult if they knew, or should have resonably known about the abuse.

The law exists in some capacity in most states but is not without faults and often misunderstands the reality of how child abuse occurs.

According to “Mother Jones,” attorneys have been critical of how the law targets mothers who are unaware of the abuse, victims of abuse themselves or unable to access help for reasons beyond their control.

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Though fathers and men can be convicted, the law often works against women due to misogyny and mom-shaming.

Some attorneys believe prosecutors pursue these cases so they appear to be overlooking child abuse.

All of the investigators in Hogue’s case agreed that she did not participate in the abuse.

Hogue cooperated with the investigation into Ryder’s death and the search for Trent.

She told them she hadn’t noticed any warning signs that abuse was occurring.

Hogue had reportedly noticed Ryder was getting bruises and was frequently tired but believed Trent when he said the child fell or was coming down with an illness.

Norman Police Department Detective Sean Judy, who led the investigation, told a courtroom that he did not believe Hogue was guilty of any crime. 

He also had resisted bringing charges against the grieving mother but the district attorney had proceeded anyway.

Crucial evidence was kept out of Hogue’s trial.

Judge Michael Tupper prevented jurors from hearing a recording of Detective Judy labeling the case “bullsh*t.”

They also didn’t see the message Trent carved into the tree, which the judge said could be considered hearsay.

A domestic violence expert was also forbidden from testifying in Hogue’s defense.

Hogue was held in solitary confinement for weeks.

After her conviction, the high-profile nature of the case meant Hogue was confined to a cell alone for 23 hours of the day, leaving only to shower or use the phone.

“I have to just stifle it in here. I feel like I’ve had no time to grieve,” she said in an interview with “Mother Jones.”

In January, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections reviewed Hogue’s case and offered a new sentencing recommendation.

“Hogue appears to be struggling mentally and…it appears Hogue would benefit more from a longterm residential treatment facility to target her mental health, grief and trauma,” the report stated.

They recommended no jail time and stated Hogue should be on probation instead.

On Friday, a judge handed down a lighter sentence, answering the prayers of many who have hoped for justice.

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.

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