Calling Jacob Rogers a cold-blooded killer who shot his friend Andrew Lee Jones Jr. in 2015 over $100, Racine County Felony Court Judge Michael Piontek sentenced Jacob Rogers to life in prison without parole.
Rogers, 28, was found guilty by a jury in Racine County Felony Court in February of first-degree intentional homicide while armed. He and his girlfriend, Katelyn McGraw, allowed Jones to stay with them at their apartment at 522 3 Mile Road on March 2, 2015 after the couple lost custody of their newborn baby because she tested positive for drugs at birth.
Andrew was the godfather of the little girl.
Jones went to Roger’s apartment the night before the shooting because Rogers had threatened to commit suicide. During an argument over misplaced money, Rogers became extremely agitated. He accused Jones of stealing $100.00. Rogers had the apartment under surveillance. The tape was recovered by the police and documented the entire sequence of events up to and including the “execution” of Jones.
Jones’ family calls for ‘life for a life’
During the trial, Jones Sr. recalls how he felt watching the video of Rogers shooting his son.
“At the end, the video showed him emptying a clip into my son — six shots went into his body and the seventh went into the wall, which almost killed a mother and child sitting in the adjacent apartment… at no point did he try to walk away. I think he knew exactly what he was doing at the time,” Jones Sr. said. “I think he did intentionally kill my son and I think he should be punished for that.”
Jones Sr. emphasized the impact that the killing of his son has had on their entire family, including Jones Jr.’s girlfriend and infant son.
“For us, we will no longer see Andrew’s smile, the joy-fullness and laughter… and the things he brought to our family and the love he shared with us. We will never get that back,” Jones Sr. said.
With tears flowing, Aasyeya Baldwin, the mother of Jones’ child, explained that she shows her son the photo of his father everyday so that he’ll know who he is.
“To think that he used his child as a reason to kill my baby daddy… when in reality if he really cared about his kids he wouldn’t have had a child with someone who lost her kids due to drugs,” Baldwin said. “He was surprised and worried and trying to get his child back… But in reality, you should have already expected that.”
During the victim impact statements of Jones Sr. and Baldwin, Rogers stared straight ahead rocking back and forth in his chair.
“He called you his brother… I welcomed you in my house twice and we argued both times when you were there because just look at you… you are a coward.,” Baldwin said.
Rogers had a troubled past
Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete asked for a life sentence arguing that the community would not be safe if Rogers had the opportunity of parole.
Rogers’ friends told investigators that he had been worked up over the impending birth of his daughter. Rogers was kicked out of the hospital, went to a shooting range to practice shooting a gun he wasn’t supposed to have, went drinking and used drugs heavily the night before. He also pulled a gun on another friend, Jacob Albright, over a misplaced cell phone.
“He was already looking for an excuse to explode on somebody,” Chiapete said. “When we look back at this snapshot, it wasn’t a question of whether it was going to happen… it was a question of when and to whom.”
Defense likens shooting to Cain and Abel
Rogers’ attorney Helmi Hamad explained that he struggled with putting a sentencing argument together, but the only basis he could come up with was one based on the term, “Brothers.”
“The only thing that came to my mind was Genesis 4, Cain and Abel… you have two brothers there that have close ties, they care for one another,” Hamad said. “But then one of the brothers killed another.”
Hamad points to how Rogers walked back and forth, back and forth prior to the shooting, but then emptied the clip.
“I think the trial really showed who Mr. Rogers really is… not a cold-blooded killer. But rather an individual — through a string of circumstances in the past couple days that led up to the homicide — that he just broke,” Hamad said. “And he confessed, left and right. If he didn’t have remorse, he wouldn’t have confessed.”
Hamad told the court that Rogers regrets his actions, wishes he could take back what he had done, and that Rogers has cried numerous times in front of him.
“This relationship was that type, a Cain and Abel relationship,” Hamad said. “We don’t really know why a brother killed another brother… we just don’t know and that’s what we have in this situation.”
Hamad asked the court for a 20-year sentence with extended supervision following the sentence.
Rogers “is a coward,” Piontek says
But Judge Piontek didn’t buy Hamad’s argument and said that Rogers has had numerous chances to change his life throughout his adolescent and formative years. He recited Rogers’ criminal history documented in the Pre-Sentencing Investigation (PSI) and the multitude of intervention programs in which Rogers could have participated to change his behavior and life experiences.
His criminal behavior began at the age of 13 when took his mother’s car without her permission and included multiple charges of battery to prisoners, law enforcement officers, drug use and ties to gangs.
“Nothing has had an effect on him,” Piontek said. “One could argue that he’s just evil, that he’s just one of those people that nothing is going to change him. On top of it, this was his parting gift to his so-called brother: He accused him of stealing from him and that is the justification — in his mind — for pulling the trigger.”
But Piontek said he doesn’t see any evidence of Jones taking Rogers’ money. And even though Rogers called Jones his brother, Piontek pointed out that Rogers did not treat Jones like he would a brother.
“The reality is … that’s the way it is,” Piontek said. “You just can’t ignore the facts.”