UPDATE 6/18/08 – The prosecution has decided not to seek the death penalty in this case, citing mental health concerns and the parents each blaming the other for baby Benjamin’s death.Â That said, I’m hopeful that life in prison will include a few days in a restraint chair for this pair of heinous babykillers.
Peoria, IL – Few parents deserve a good old fashioned smiting like Tracey Hermann and James Sargent. Hermann, 21, and Sargent, 23, are accused of killing their five month old son Benjamin by leaving him his carseat for eight days. Benjamin was dropped off with his parents on February 4, strapped into his carseat. He was found dead on February 12 in the exact same position. Oh, can we think of appropriate punishments for these two? I think we can.
Our poster Pirelli Jones actually hit me to this story several days ago, but at the time, there was no clear cause of death. But on Wednesday, this pair of neglectful douchebags were in court on charges of first degree murder.
Peoria County State’s Attorney Kevin Lyons said that baby Benjamin “died from starvation due to neglect from these two defendants, his parents. It’s the worst case of child neglect we have seen since the turn of this century.”
Lyons said police found Benjamin sitting in his own waste, all the while strapped into the seat which was in a crib. Benjamin weighed just ten pounds when he was found, even though he’d weighed in at eight pounds at birth. During the eight days that Benjamin was dying, strapped in the seat, both Hermann and Sargent were home at various times, just hanging out and playing video games and going about their daily routines. The couple also have a three-year-old daughter.
Excuse me, I need a WTF moment. WTF?!? How do you just forget about a tiny baby for over a week? I don’t have the proper profanity right at hand for these two. Poor baby Benjamin. He died with his eyes open, fists clenched, wearing a zipped up blue snowsuit in a room where the temperature was about 80 degrees.
A person who was staying at an unattached garage apartment next to the house had seen Benjamin at one 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 where he was placed in the crib. Benjamin was found in the same position the neighbor had left him in over a week before.
Sargent told police that he had moved Benjamin “once or twice,” but later said that he might not have moved Benjamin at all during the week. Hermann last saw her son the night before police were notified. And get THIS – 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,” said prosecutor Lyons.
Hermann then left for Iowa to meet with a man she had met online, Lyons said, noting that she allegedly told police “that Benjamin was not her duty and that it was James’ responsibility.” Guess he didn’t take that responsibility very well, but Hermann was home for part of the time, and she didn’t take that responsibility either, apparently.
Herrman and Sargent are currently being held without bond on first-degree murder charges. Their three-year-old daughter, Natalie Grace, has been removed from the family’s custody by CPS and is in foster care. Herrman and Sargent, by all rights, should be in Hell.
Thanks to Pirelli Jones, Ells, and Kathy for their help with this story, and Ells for the pics.