James Sargent found guilty of first degree murder in death of his son

Tracy Hermann and James Sargent
Tracy Hermann and James Sargent

Judge: Father’s actions toward baby were ‘brutal and heinous’:

Again you can find my other posts on Sargent here and here. He is one of a pair of Breeders who left their son, Benjamin Sargent, alone in his car seat in his crib for days while they played video games and did not feed or change Benjamin which led to his death.

The sperm donor of the pair, 24-year-old James Sargent of Peoria, Illinois, was found guilty yesterday of first-degree murder.

A doctor who testified during the trial said that Benjamin didn’t die from starvation but rather from an infection caused by the unchanged diaper. The fecal material ate through the skin causing a massive infection.

Sargent is looking at 100 years when sentenced in June.

The birth organism of the pair, Tracy Hermann, is scheduled for trial in August.

49 thoughts on “James Sargent found guilty of first degree murder in death of his son”

  1. every once in awhile you read a story on this site that just completely boggles the mind. we’ve read of some atrocious abuse…adults with so much hatred in their hearts and so many “issues” of their own that they inflict unthinkable pain on helpless children. we read about the alcoholics and drug abusers and the neglect and pain they cause for their tiny little ones. but this case…i just haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. i think at first they were saying the child was left in that car seat for 8 days. i just cannot comprehend how someone could hear the screams…the anquish…the sheer hysteria…coming from that baby’s bedroom….knowing full well that he hadn’t been fed…hadn’t been changed…hadn’t been bathed…hadn’t been held and talked to…for 8 solid days…..your flesh and blood child!!!! and no response from mom or dad….how could they even begin to concentrate on their precious game when the baby was in that state…the screams coming from him as his stomach knotted up from lack of food…and his muscles tightened and feet and arms went numb from the restriction of movement…as the flesh was slowly being eaten away from his little bottom and severe infection set in….there is no way….that these people could possibly be human….i just can’t comprehend this.

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  2. i guess this one just hits a little too close to home for me. i’m a foster mother and i’ve adopted 5 of the children i have in the last year and a half (i’m in the process of adopting the other baby). 4 of those children are siblings. the first 3 came to me after their infant sister died. i’ve had them for 5 1/2 years and i still can’t get the infant out of my mind…if the agency had just stepped in a month or so earlier…she could have been saved and been with me also. it took that baby 2 months to die…another baby was born while the parents were awaiting trial. they removed her and placed her with me when she was 7 months old.how can people let these things happen to their children???

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  3. Karen, I don’t know. These pieces of filth aren’t worthy of the title of “parent”.

    I read how they found the baby, staring straight ahead, eyes open, fists closed tight.

    It makes me want to vomit.

    And it makes me want to do some very un-Christian things.

    Have to remind myself that God has the best punishment in mind for them, unless they repent.

    Still hard. Want to make them suffer int he same way.

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  4. i know. the one thing i can’t stand is hearing a baby cry. i ‘ve never been able to let them fuss or cry themselves to sleep or anything like that. it just grates on my nerves to hear it. the easy solution is to go to them, pick them up and check for a diaper that might need attention offer something to eat see if they’re too cold or hot see if they just need to be held….it all takes about 5 minutes worth of time to get to the bottom of the crying…it’s really so simple….to sit there and hold the baby close and feel their warm little bodies relax as they finally drift off to sleep. where they get the idea that a good beating or shaking and drop kicking across the room will make the child settle down is beyond me. eight days…..unimaginable.

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  5. At least this piece of shit will never get off. I do hope he does not repent and burns in hell for all eternity with maggots and worms eating at his flesh, and agonizing thirst that never gets quenched and excruciating flames licking away at him and emotional torture that never ends. And everything else God and Satan can throw at him. Yes I definitely hope this F$%*er never repents (not very Christian like I know but what this thing and that bitch did to such an innocent child deserves nothing less) and it goes doubly for that gaming whore.

    At least this poor baby is safe and sound and happy in Heaven and will just experience love and joy for ever.

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  6. I agree with Karen. I can’t imagine how someone could ignore a baby for eight days. Since my son was born, I can’t stand to walk by a crying baby in a grocery store or the mall, especially if the mom is obviously ignoring the baby to do something else – like slurp down a sundae or check out the latest sale rack. I just want to grab the woman, smack the snot out of her and say “NOTHING you think you have to do is more important than that baby.”

    BTW, Karen, you get my “hero of the day” designation for adopting five kids! Taking in and giving a loving home to five kids who need one –THAT is truly living as a good Christian.

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  7. Actually, just realized that might have sounded condescending. What I mean is I truly admire people like Karen who adopt kids, give them a loving home and treat them with the love and respect they deserve. I’m sure there are a lot of people of all religions who do that.

    Does that make sense?

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  8. When I first read about this story a year ago, I was absolutely dumbstruck. I couldn’t get my mind around the absolute selfishness, the complete disinterest for another human being exhibited by these two *gag, choke* parents *more gagging* toward their own offspring. I could not imagine that anyone could be so base, so cruel, as to even allow, much less CAUSE the kind of suffering this child endured. I still can’t.

    I guess that’s a good thing though, because if I ever get to the point that I CAN understand an act like this, or imagine the causation factors behind such abuse, it will mean that my soul has died. It will mean that I will be capable of becoming an abhorrent monster, an abomination of nature like these two. No, I don’t seek understanding of acts like this any more than I would seek to have a poisonous animal as a pet. I don’t seek the ability to empathize with these genetic mutations. And I don’t seek the ability to ‘imagine’ the horror perpetrated by these two wastes of DNA, these two examples of inbreeding gone awry. Just reading the words in the story is almost more than I can handle. No, I don’t want understanding.

    I want justice. Justice for this baby, and for all of the others out there who are still in the custody of people who neither want nor deserve them. I want to know that these monsters who prey on the most vulnerable members of our society, whether it be an through overt act, or the result of extreme disinterest – that they will be held accountable for their cruelty, their selfishness, their narcissism. I want them to pay.

    I am a Christian. I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I believe that Jesus died so that we ALL might be given the chance at eternal life…..even the most horrible among us. Therefore I also believe in mortal punishment for acts such as these. If, by some chance, either of these two animals realize the error of their ways, and accept Christ, and go to Heaven, I want to know that there was justice for this baby in some form. I realize that not everyone who comments here is a Christian, and I am not trying to offend anyone here but whether you are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or atheist – whatever you believe happens to the soul upon departure of this world, whether it goes somewhere or simply ceases to exist, punishment for people like these, here on earth, is necessary.

    Sorry for the novel, but this story…Oh, Lord…. this travesty…..I still cry when I think about this baby and what he had to endure. And I want the adults responsible to suffer as much too. May God forgive me, but I want them to hurt like they hurt that child. Worse….

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  9. All religion aside, I take great comfort in the idea… nay, the FACT that if Daddy Dearest here is placed in the prison’s general population (as the prosecutor initially intended), he will suffer every conceivable form of torture at the hands of his bigger, badder, meaner fellow inmates. He deserves every second of the pain and abuse they inflict upon him, including, I hope, his vicious, bloody, brutal murder.

    That’s not to say I don’t believe God has bigger (and much deserved) punishments for this guy and the vile walking uterus who birthed this precious baby, but I believe they deserve to suffer every possible torment, in this life and beyond.

    I truly hope reincarnation is real, too, so they can endure endless horrors in every subsequent life.

    Rest in peace, Benjamin. I’m going home tonight to give my two babies extra hugs for the ones you never received. You deserved so much more in life than you got, sweet boy.

    *supports mandatory castration for all child abusers/murderers*

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  10. IHKT: no, it didn’t sound condescending at all…and i thank you for the compliment. i know i shouldn’t take it personally, any more than the birth parents out there like yourself and angel and all the others who comment on here who are doing what they’re supposed to do, but when we as foster parents take a bashing because of the few bad apples out there, i always feel the need to hop on board and defend us. i know we’re not “news worthy” so to speak…just as the good birth parents aren’t…nodbody wants to read a blog about the birth parent who gets up (sometimes tired to the bone…lol) and makes their child breakfast and makes sure they have their backpack and makes sure they get on the bus on time for school. the parent who sees to it the child comes home to a safe environment does their homework eats a snack and then dinner brushes their teeth and takes a shower/bath before getting into their clean bed to go to sleep at night. the parent who drives to soccer /baseball practice/dance lessons/cubscouts/brownies/etc….to dr. and dentist appts…the parent who listens to what the teacher has to say when their child is not up to par…and deals with child accordingly instead of blaming the school and society….the list goes on and on…nobody cares to read about that. it’s the same with foster/adopt parents…there may be an occassional jack ass who leaves that little one in worse condition than they arrived….those are the ones you read about. but they’re far and few between just as the horrible birth parents out there.
    i had 7 birth daughters of my own….and have been blessed and graced by God to have the privilege of knowing and raising not only these next 7 but also the many other little ones who’ve passed through my home over the years and the ones that are out there somewhere waiting for their time to come. i’ve loved and cherished each and every one of them..although i have to admit, i’m human and a couple have been a challenge that i had to ask God for strength each and every day just to remain patient and not ask for their removal!!!
    fostering/adopting isn’t for everyone…you do have to have the patience of a saint at times to handle some of these little ones. alot of people have this fantasy of taking in the poor little waif…cleaning them up and feeding them and giving them toys and everyone lives happily ever after. it’s not like that at all…thats the easy part, fixing the outward problems. the hard part is dealing with the damage that’s been done to these broken children…the mental and emotional toll life has taken on them in their short time on earth. trying to make them whole again so they can, at the very least, function in this world as a humane adult someday. having to sit by quietly and not show the emotions that rage through your body as they begin to trust you and reveal the atrocities of their life…things that the caseworkers didn’t know…that nobody knew…that YOU don’t want to know or imagine…and then showing up in court to be their voice…to fight for them…to get the services they need to help them mend. it’s the getting calls from the school about the behavior and coming up with plans to curb it. it’s the getting them ready for visits with parents who lots of times don’t bother to show up….trying to convince some of them that they must go as they scream and beg you not to send them (which i learned early on that at least the child and i had some say so in that one. my state agency is very sensitive to the child’s feelings. when i child protests the visit like that, they won’t make them have it make note of it and present it to the judge.) it’s the dealing with the fallout after a visit…whether it be because of the child’s desire to end it all or the poor child who arrives home heartbroken and confused because they were basically toyed with “here’s mommy…yes you love and miss her…ooops, your 2 hours are up…say bye bye” and the trauma of being removed begins all over…week after week. most of these kids do NOT want to leave their homes. they love the parents no matter how bad things are…they want things to change….but they don’t want to leave their families.
    wow…this is turning into a 20 chapter book….lol.
    my point in some of this is that i know there’s so many people out there that have compassion for these children and want to help but are ust not in the position where they could actually take a child into their home. there are so many other ways though, that you can help. if you know of a family that has a foster child/children….you can offer to babysit for a couple of hours so mom can get a little break…if you have a child that has outgrown their clothes or toys, offer them to the mom. sometimes, mom might just need a little hand around the house or yard or something so she can have a little more time to relax with the child. you can just pray for them. you can continue to come on this site and voice your anger and concern so that we, as a society, don’t become numb and complacent to what’s happening out there…we need to continue to be the voice of those too weak to speak.
    geeeesh…enough from me!!!!

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  11. angel….as always…you took the words right out of my mouth…..i couldn’t agree more with what you just wrote.

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  12. Thank you, karen, and again – this world is a better place because of people like you, who do what you do, for nothing more than the love of children and the chance to improve their lives. Bless you and all the others who take in strangers and make them family. And I agree with your assessment as well…we only hear about the ‘bad’ parents in the news. Not the love and effort put forth by parents who actually care.

    @jade, I’ll be happy to provide the bullets and the gun.

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  13. I think we should print out karen’s post desribing the anguish this child went through and send it to these scums. Make them read it over and over every single day while they spend the rest of their useless lives in prison. Maybe then they may come to realize what they did. *sigh* but I doubt it. They wont. Never will. They didnt care then and never will. I too know that they will get what is coming to them in the end, we can only hope that they take the cowardly way out and find a shoe string or a razor blade in prison and get to that punishment even sooner.

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  14. samantha:”*sigh* but I doubt it. They wont. Never will.”
    exactly. i mothered the siblings…i saw first hand what had happened. i sat through every hearing in juvenile court with the parents and we all heard the evidence. i sat through the 4 day trial with them they heard my testimony/i heard theirs. i sat through the sentencing with them and we all heard WHY they were being sent to prison. when they were released, i sat through the 2 separate parental termination of rights hearings with them…they heard my testimony and i heard theirs and the cast of thousands promoting the tpr.
    throughout it all…..even after what the coroner and pediatrician and social workers and everyone else testified to as what caused the death of this 4 month old baby and neglect and abuse of the other children….their comeback was “nope. she didn’t die from that, it was a SIDS DEATH…nope, we’re just poor, we did a good job.”
    they just don’t get it. he didn’t see how playing his video games 40 hours a week (by his own admission…) while he was the one in charge of the kids…could have been a bit of a problem (40 hours??? that’s a full time job). she didn’t see where there was a problem with the housekeeping/child care on her part. they just don’t get it and never will.

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  15. If anything “good” can come out of this, I would say that for the decent human beings out there it just reinforces us on how much better we are than these peices of trash. The fact that this tears us up is a good thing. Trying to figure out why or how any human being could act this way will drive any good person crazy. The hardest part of all of this is the fact that innocent children’s lives are taken because of these monsters.

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  16. karen, I hope someday to be able to do what you are doing. I would love to open my home up to these children. I wish I could right now because I would in a heart beat.
    I am a firm believer in forced sterilization, or at least some kind of forced birth control (like depo or an implant) in women who have lost parental rights. Or on welfare. I have no problem at all with people on welfare trying to better themselves, but in all honesty, thats not the main use of it. They sit around and make more babies for us to pay for and its not fair. If I have to support them, then give them to me to raise and love. Men should be forced to have vasectomies when they are found guilty of child abuse too.

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  17. Like I said before in the story about the 2 assclowns you decided to cremate their child on the BBQ grill, it’s hard enough to imagine how 1 person can let things like this happen to a baby, but to think that in this case, there were 3 people (if I read the original story correctly) that could stand by and let a baby suffer in that manor for 8 days straight and do nothing. Truly amazes me! I pray that they get the much needed ‘prison justice’ while serving their time.

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  18. samantha: when the time is right for you and your family, it would be a true blessing to have you foster or adopt. homes are desperately needed. i couldn’t agree more with the sterilization part. of course, it’s against their constitutional rights…but you know what…offer them a reduced sentence if you have to…depending on the extent of the abuse of course. just stop these women from having baby after baby that they can’t handle or have issues because of the drugs and alcohol that were put into their tiny prebirth bodies.either that, or make sure their in a data base that detects the minute their baby is born and remive them from the hospital. tpr and place them in an adoptive home immediately. give the mothers and fathers that are aching for a child to love a chance to do so. give the baby a fighting chance at life.

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  19. My heart just sank reading this post. Not that starvation would have been any better…I have said many prayers for this little one. I will say another tonight in thanksgiving that his murderer will see justice. Rest peacefully baby Benjamin.

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  20. This is seriously the saddest story I have ever read. It hurts to think about it, and I am so glad that this idiot is found guilty. I can’t believe that any one would do something like this!!

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  21. I agree with all of you. I can’t add much more. Except the picture of the babe — that sweet innocent 5 month old — he has that look in his eyes — that wonderful look, smiling eyes, clear and unblemished eyes. The expression is one of joy and happiness, with a little mischeviousness thrown in. You know, where the top eyelids are open wide, but the bottom lids are raised up. I love that look. And then I contrast it with the looks on the those evil vile excuses for human beings — what a contrast. Vacuous, selfish, self-centered, self-pitying. They did not deserve you, darling. Rest in Peace lil Benjamin. I wish I had been your mommy.

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  22. I don’t understand this either. I rember when my daughter had just turned one she decided she did wanna sleep thru the night anymore. And she had slept thru the night since 2 months old. I deciced I had to let her cry it out. And that was pure hell. I would go in her room every 10 mins to make she was ok give her passy back lay her down and walk out. It worked but my husband had to hold me back and watch me cry because I just wanted to go in there and hold her till she fell alseep. Just thinking of this poor baby makes me cry. Ugh

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  23. I can’t come up with words to say anything. Every time I think about this, I choke up, feel sick, and fight not to sob uncontrollably.

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  24. Kathy, I know what you mean. All these stories are heinous, but sometimes one of them drives me to sob uncontrollably. I want to curse the world I hate the world! I hate these sick disgusting vile POS’s!!!!

    Jessica, I know exactly what you mean, too. When my son went through that phase, I would sit outside his door and pray. Usually, he quit crying in five minutes and all was well. But if he cried longer than that, it was my husband that would be saying, “How can you take it? I can’t take it!” and he’d go in there to soothe him. And often, he’d stay in there with him and I’d find the two of them asleep wrapped around each other in that little bed.

    Too bad Tracy Herman didn’t have enough respect for the God-given blessing to create life in her womb to choose a decent man to be the sperm donor. But I certainly don’t blame it all on the Penis.

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  25. Karen, and all you other foster and adoptive moms that truly love your charges: YOU ROCK! I love you all. Thank God for people like you.

    I mentioned before that my step-sister has adopted 6 children from troubled homes. For several of these children, before being adopted, the egg-donors would want the kids back. It never took long for the children to be returned to my step-sister, because those vile egg-donors rarely ever change and get their shit’s together. The main reason they want the kids back is because they pity themselves.

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  26. thank you lisa. i have to admit, i get as much if not more out of it as the little ones do. thte love you receive in return from these little kids is amazing.
    i blame the mother in this case even more so than the father. she was there…at home…listening to that baby scream for 7 days…and did nothing. as a mother, the one who gave life to that little baby, she should have been the first to comfort and care for him….then, KNOWING the baby had been in there without food or diaper changing, she leaves town? unforgivable.

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  27. Were they actually at home for those seven days? Even if you were sociopathic enough to not care that the baby was crying, wouldn’t the noise itself get to you after a while?

    Either way, at home or not, it’s still a horrible crime and no child deserves that kind of horrific death, but I just can’t imagine how they could have been there the entire time.

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  28. I can’t even begin to fathom how one could just ignore that for that long. Even if they were completely disconnected from reality on drugs or something.

    My mind is boggled.

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  29. It was the statement that he was found with his fists clenched and eyes open that broke me. The thought of a child suffering as he did, hearing the sounds of the people that are supposed to love and protect him around him, possibly seeing them come and go as he lay slowly dying, terrified and in pain…it is enough to make me crazy with grief.

    I will take an extra long look at my sleeping baby tonight as I check on him and breathe a long sigh knowing that he is safe with me. I wish with all of my heart that this sweet boy could have had the same.

    There is a special corner of hell reserved for these horrors.

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  30. i agree Bishop…that’s the hard part to comprehend. how can a person hear the screams of agony and not go to their son? makes you wonder if this is how it always was and maybe there was always a relative or friend that dropped by and sort of took over caring for him? maybe grandma did? what would make you suddenly after 5 months of life with your child decide “i think i’m going to play my video games now (for 8 days straight) and just pretend that there’s no baby here”. wouldn’t you think he would have kept them awake all night? even if they didn’t want to be bothered with holding him and playing with him, at some point in time during each day and night, you would have to pause your game for a few minutes. i’m sure mom and dad didn’t go for 8 days and nights without taking a potty break or getting themselves something to eat. how hard is it to grab a bottle of formula do a quicky change of the diaper (with disposable diapers and diaper wipes it’s as easy as 1 2 3) prop the baby with his bottle in the swing crib or whatever and then continue their game? something is drastically wrong here.

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  31. Man, this mind boggling.. Changing a diaper or, in my sons case, a Pull-Up is really,really easy.. At least it’s easy for those of us that care for and love our children. 100 years sounds about right for both of them.. Each should be of the “no parole” variety.. If it were up to me they would be put to death!

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  32. I remember when this story first broke. I remember the waves of nausea that caught my throat. I sometimes hate that we are a civilized Country. I would love the to see both of those asses strapped down, and die the death their son did. I thought starvation was bad of itself, but to read the he died from not being changed, ugh! If I am getting a visual on this, the feces and urine must’ve eaten through the skin of course since he hadn’t eaten in 8 days, he must have defacated and urinated all contents out within 48 hours. Why can’t we be a fair Country, and ley the victims death dictate the punishment of the perp?

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  33. Thanks for the update Andy.
    Im glad that selfish bastard got what he deserved, not I hope the peice of trash female gets the same.
    Death is way to good for these people, I hope they suffer at the hands of their fellow prisoners for a very long time.

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  34. thank you Andy!!!! you reap what you sow…maybe this will be enough to snap him back into reality. no “lord of the rings” games to distract him and constant reminders from others as to what he did and why he’s there.
    i hope the cold hearted bitch gets the same. in my opinion she’s even more guilty as she was there most of the time and she was his MOTHER. i don’t care that she wanted to give him up for adoption when he was born. these little babies are not disposable inconviences…she bore him, she should have mothered him.

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  35. HUZZAH! Justice! Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that the egg donor gets the same treatment in October.

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  36. I read the article about his sentencing, and wanted to punch this monster’s DAD right in the face!

    “After the sentencing, Thomas and Rosemary Sargent, James Sargent’s parents, were shocked and stunned with the decision. Both said they believed a sentence closer to the minimum of 20 years was more appropriate, considering their son will have to serve 100 percent of his time. Thomas Sargent looked saddened when he said that given his age, he would probably never seen his son free again.”

    Their SON deserves MUCH MUCH more than 100 yrs in prison. He deserves to be strapped to a chair, neglected, ignored, starved, sitting in his own waste – just like he did to this baby. The ‘mom’ needs just the same. It seriously sickens me to read about this.

    WHY did taxpayers even waste the money on a trial? NOW the taxpayers have to pay to feed, house and provide medical care for this M-F’er for 100 yrs. I say just SHOOT HIM NOW!!!

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  37. Being from Peoria this story hit home…. giving birth to a little boy in Feb 2008 made it hit even harder. I must say though, working with many “justice offenders” and whatnot… being at the local county jail (to see clients) while those two wastes of clean oxygen… priceless, they are getting almost every royal treatment they deserve. James Sargent had to be moved from the local jail and Tracey Herman was beat on damn near a daily basis. I personally made sure to seek out multiple inmates at their new homes… (prisons) and write them letters to let them know who James and Tracey were… I will keep on this crusade… if there is one thing most convicts don’t stand for is crimes against kids. Please keep that in mind when reading about these other people…. search for them on your state prison site, find other inmates in the same prison adn let them know who the new kid on the block is!

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  38. There will b a march held in april 2013 in washington dc. To get legislators to give people like these the maximum sentence. If your not from washington we.are asking for it to b done in your state every voice counts. I will b doing the one from Boston. Together we can protect our kids.

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