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Couple’s ‘bedroom became a bloodbath’


Sandra Rogers

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Last-minute witness

There was some question whether or not Sandra Rogers would be able to have her trial this week. One of her daughters, who is a witness for both the state and the defense, remained hospitalized Tuesday. The daughter was attacked Monday and required surgery afterwards, according to prosecutor Danielle Pascucci. This is the same daughter that defense attorney Gillian Gosch alleged to have conspired in the brutal sledgehammer attack.

The daughter was expected to be discharged from the hospital by Tuesday night and would be taken to a safe house to recuperate Wednesday, Pascucci said.

“She is very fearful to do anything for fear of retribution (from her attacker),” Pascucci said. “She’s miserable and in a lot of pain.”

However, Pascucci said that the witness will be given some medication and should be able to testify later in the trial. Attorneys said they expect this trial to go into next week.

Updated: March 31, 2013 2:11AM

In the early hours of May 19, 2003, everyone’s “worst nightmare became a reality,” Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Rod Drobinski said.

A couple was asleep when two shadowy figures wearing masks and gloves stood in their Lincolnshire bedroom doorway, he said.

“What happened next turned their bedroom into a bloodbath. The attack wasn’t by some stranger. You will know that attack was personal,” Drobinski told the jury in his opening statement Tuesday.

One of the figures in the doorway was Jonathan McMeekin. The other figure was Sandra Rogers, 56, formerly of Mundelein, Drobinski said.

Rogers is on trial this week charged with solicitation of murder, attempted murder and home invasion.

McMeekin, who was 17 at the time of the May 19, 2003 attack, was a football player who could bench press 350 pounds, Drobinski said. McMeekin got into a fight with Rogers’ ex-husband.

“Savagely, brutally and repeatedly, (Rogers) beat both (the ex-husband and his wife) with a hammer. It was a sledgehammer with a shorter handle. She struck (the new wife) repeatedly about the face. She struck (her ex-husband) repeatedly about the face,” Drobinski said.

To understand the attack, jurors have to understand what happened prior to the May 19 attack, Drobinski said. Rogers had two girls with her ex-husband. The two traded custody of the girls and had different parenting styles. Rogers was the “fun” parent without rules while her-ex husband was strict, Drobinski said.

Rogers’ ex-husband remarried and had two sons with his new wife. He was worth more than $1 million while his ex-wife struggled to pay her bills and dealt with foreclosure, Drobinski said.

All those assets would have been divided equally among her ex-husband’s four children if both he and his new wife died at the same time. That meant Rogers would have control over some of those assets until her girls were adults, Drobinski said.

“Her financial desperation led to the rage that fueled this attack,” Drobinski said.

Defense attorney Gillian Gosch urged jurors to pay close attention to what happened during the attack, not the events prior to the attack.

“We expect the evidence to show the state arrested the wrong Rogers,” Gosch said.

Rogers’ youngest teenage daughter was the accomplice, Gosch said. The teen had given her boyfriend the Lincolnshire home’s layout so he could navigate to the master bedroom, the night of the attack. Gosch said McMeekin had not been to the Linconshire home before the attack was carried out. Several doors inside the residence normally locked were found to be unlocked, Gosch said.

Jonathan was the one who “with one swipe, knocks all of (the new wife’s) teeth out,” with the sledgehammer, she said. McMeekin gave police several statements the day after the attack.

The first three statements to police did not mention Rogers, Gosch said. He told police he loved Rogers’ daughter and that he was angry and upset that her father was not allowing him to date her, Gosch said.

“Approximately six weeks after the crime, Jonathan McMeekin decides to cooperate (with authorities). We get another story. The story is that Sandy broke into the house. It’s simply not true,” Gosch said.

The state is expected to start calling more than 20 witnesses starting today.

Rogers is in custody at Lake County Jail in lieu of $4 million bond. McMeekin is serving 20 years in prison for his role in the attack.

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