Mom sentenced to 4 years in prison after fire kills son

7-year-old son died in fire Dec. 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - A mother was sentenced to four years in prison after her 7-year-old son was killed in house fire on West Washington Street last December.

Jessica Rogers, 30, was originally charged with murder and arson. A year later, she accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent Dec. 5.

"I am sorry my baby boy. I failed you. I never meant for this to happen," Rogers said during her sentencing hearing on Thursday.

Rogers admitted to drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and taking Xanax the day of the incident, but she denied allegations that the fire was a result of her smoking meth.

"Jessica did not start the fire. There was no evidence of meth found anywhere in the house. This was not a meth fire. What Jessica admitted to was failing to respond quickly and adequately in the face of an emergency," Rogers' attorney Jane Ruemmele said.

Rogers and her boyfriend escaped the fire by jumping to safety from the second floor. Judge Sheila Carlisle took note of that before the sentencing. She said a mother in a burning home should have a natural instinct to find her child and get him to safety.

The child's father testified whether Rogers served four years or 400 years, it is not going to make any difference to their son Dreydon Webb. 

Rogers was sentenced to four years in prison, and when she is released, she will be placed on an alcohol monitor, will be drug tested weekly and must complete a substance-abuse treatment program.

Prosecutors said they didn't have the evidence for more serious charges.

"The evidence is inconclusive. The fire investigators determined it was not accidental. However they could not point to what started the fire, or who it was that started that fire," Deputy Prosecutor Ross Anderson said.

The terms of her sentence also require that she must take parenting classes and she cannot have unsupervised contact with children younger than 18.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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