Sledgehammer attacker found guilty
Updated: March 8, 2013 7:35AM
A jealous ex-wife was convicted Wednesday of attempted sledgehammer murder of her ex-husband and his new younger wife.
Sandra Rogers, 56, formerly of Mundelein, faces 12 to 60 years in prison.
“This case resembles something like a Lifetime movie. Its plot is filled with rage, jealousy and desperation by an angry, bitter, frustrated ex-wife ... unfortunately, this case is a real-life nightmare,” Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Danielle Pascucci said in her closing arguments.
Rogers’ trial came to a close Wednesday after more than a week of testimony, including testimony from accomplice Jonathan McMeekin, who acknowledged a sexual relationship with Rogers and a romantic relationship with her teenage daughter.
A jury of six men and six women convicted Rogers of four counts of home invasion, two counts of attempted murder and one count of solicitation of murder after deliberating for about two and a half hours.
Rogers and McMeekin, then 17, entered her ex-husband Rick Rogers’ Lincolnshire residence in the early morning hours of May 19, 2003. Prosecutors said Rogers attacked Rick and his new wife Angela with a two-pound sledgehammer.
“When I saw the two victims, I thought for sure they were dead,” testified Sgt. James Hanley of the Lincolnshire police department. “I remember seeing a large gash. It looked like there was a dent in his head.”
But the couple did survive, although Rick spent the days after the attack in a coma and it took him a year to regain all of his motor functions.
Rogers entered a plea of “no contest” in 2004, in which she did not directly admit guilt but acknowledged that there was enough evidence to convict her. Rogers served about seven years of her sentence when her petition for a new trial was granted because a jail guard passed a message between McMeekin and Rogers.
Almost 10 years after the crime occurred, Rogers went to trial. McMeekin did not retract his guilty plea for his role in the crime.
“Justice was delayed, not denied,” Assistant States Attorney Rod Drobinski said.
Prosecutors painted Rogers as a jealous ex-wife with personal motivation for bludgeoning her ex-husband and his new wife almost to death with a sledgehammer.
McMeekin testified that his role in the crime was to knock Rick’s wife to the floor and then got in a wrestling match with Rick. Rogers was the one who wielded the sledgehammer, he testified.
She used sex, alcohol and drugs to “ingratiate herself” with McMeekin, Pascucci said. Rogers’ and Rick’s daughter Robin, who was 14 at the time, was dating McMeekin at the time.
Rogers’ defense attorney Gillian Gosch pointed to Robin, now 24, as McMeekin’s accomplice to the murder.
“My client didn’t like her ex-husband. She hated him. They went through a bitter divorce. But Robin also didn’t like him. She hated his rules,” Gosch said.
In the weeks before the attack, Robin gave McMeekin the layout to her home, Gosch said. Robin penned a poem titled “Daddy Dearest” before the attack that included lines like “I hate you,” “why don’t you die and rot in hell?” and “I’ll do whatever is in my power to have you brought down.”
McMeekin has served about 10 years of his 20-year sentence, testified during the trial, giving what he called his fifth and truthful account of what happened the night of the attack.
“The problem is none of us know what is true,” Gosch told the jury. “To convict Sandy, you have to believe McMeekin and you can’t believe McMeekin because he’s made so many statements.”
Rick testified he had been hit in the back of the head about six times. His wife was hit in the face multiple times, according to testimony.
Rogers did not take testify in the trial.
She is due for sentencing March 14. She remains in custody at Lake County Jail.