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Article updated: 2/7/2013 8:27 AM

Woman guilty of sledgehammer attack

Jury in three hours sides with prosecution in retrial

Sandra Rogers

Sandra Rogers

 
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After only three hours of deliberations, a Lake County jury found Sandra Rogers guilty of attempting to murder her ex-husband with a sledgehammer in an early-morning attack almost a decade ago.

Rogers, 56, was found guilty on four counts of home invasion, two counts of attempted murder and a single count of conspiracy to commit murder.

"Justice was delayed, but not denied," Assistant State's Attorney Rod Drobinski said after the verdict was announced.

Sandra Rogers could be sentenced to as many as 60 years behind bars.

Before the jury's deliberations, prosecutors said Sandra Rogers was the "angry, bitter and frustrated ex-wife" who used a red sledgehammer to repeatedly strike Rick Rogers on May 19, 2003, in the bedroom of his Lincolnshire home.

But her defense attorney argued that no physical evidence linked Sandra Rogers to the crime and that her then-14-year-old daughter Robin helped the girl's ex-boyfriend, Jonathan McMeekin, carry out the attack.

"The crime scene doesn't change, it doesn't lie," said defense attorney Gillian Gosch during closing arguments earlier in the day.

Sandra Rogers, formerly of Mundelein, has spent the last decade behind bars after her arrest.

She initially accepted a plea deal of attempted murder for this crime. But that deal was thrown out last year when Lake County Judge John Phillips ruled evidence was withheld that led her to admit her role in the crime. The ruling paved the way for the trial that began Jan. 29.

Assistant State's Attorney Danielle Pascucci told the jury during closing statements that financial struggles, jealousy over Rick Rogers and his "pretty new wife" Angela Gloria, and a bitter custody battle over Robin Rogers pushed Sandra Rogers into a rage.

Sandra Rogers forced McMeekin, who was 17 at the time, to help her, Pascucci said. She broke into Rick Rogers' home through a basement window well and unlocked the sliding glass door to let McMeekin inside, and they both went to the master bedroom to kill Rick Rogers and Gloria as they slept, Pascucci said. Both victims survived.

"Bleeding, bashed and bludgeoned. That's how the defendant left Rick Rogers and Angela Gloria in the morning of May 19, 2003," Pascucci said. "The defendant had to move into a one-bedroom apartment in Mundelein while her hated ex-husband and his pretty wife and two boys lived in a multilevel townhome in Lincolnshire."

But Gosch said McMeekin gave police four different statements when he was questioned -- three on the day of the attack and a fourth six weeks later after he decided to blame Sandra Rogers.

"To convict Sandy, you have to believe McMeekin," Gosch told the jury. "But you can't believe McMeekin because he has given so many different statements."

McMeekin, now 26, has served about 10 years of a 20-year sentence he received after he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder for his role in the attack.

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