Octavia Rogers, 29, a mother of three, is facing the death penalty as she begins trial in Maricopa County, Arizona, on Feb. 9. Rogers is accused of the stabbing death of her three sons and the dismemberment of their bodies.
“I am still just stunned at the information, I don't know,” Rogers' sister, who only identified herself as Vonticia, told KPNX. "[There was nothing]; no signs. ... She was a loving mother. She loves her kids. She did whatever she needed to make sure they didn't ever want for anything.”
On Jan. 31, Jeannette Gallagher, a prosecutor in the case, argued that Rogers deserves the death penalty because her crimes were committed in "an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner," notes The Arizona Republic. Gallagher added the "needless mitigation" and "gratuitous manner" of Rogers' crimes, notwithstanding her "special relationship" to the boys.
"This is a mentally ill women," Gary Bevilacqua, Rogers' attorney, countered on Feb. 9. "We think this is ridiculous."
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"The family is going to be fighting hard," added Benjamin Taylor, an attorney for Rogers' family. "This is a sad occasion. However, losing three boys does not mean that Octavia deserves the death penalty."
"That's my daughter, and I love her, and I'm just gonna stand by her side," Tanella McCoy, Rogers' mother, said.
"Mom of murder suspect says 'she needs help,' not death," Nicole Garcia of KSAZ tweeted on Feb. 9. "Octavia Rogers will face death penalty. Family says she's mentally ill."
According to KSAZ, Rogers has pleaded not guilty on the three counts of first-degree murder she is facing, and will return to court on May 1.