Mother gets plea deal in death of 7-year-old son after house fire

Deal means Jessica Rogers faces maximum of 4 years

INDIANAPOLIS - Attorneys said Thursday that a west side mother originally charged with murder for leaving her son to die in a house fire had accepted a plea bargain.

The deal means Jessica Rogers could receive a maximum of four years in prison in connection with the death of 7-year-old Dreydon Webb.

Rogers, 30, was originally charged with felony murder, arson and Class "A" felony neglect after a fire claimed the life of her son in their home on West Washington Street last December.

Rogers said she tried to save her child. She and her boyfriend jumped to safety from the second floor of the house. She suffered smoke inhalation and spent days in the hospital.

Neighbors say they are disturbed by the plea deal.

"People lost their homes; the baby lost his life," said neighbor Barbara Rees. "She didn't try to get him. Where was her maternal instinct?"

Rogers admitted to taking Xanax and using marijuana and alcohol on that day. She also admitted to using methamphetamine the day before.

"She did try to save her child," said Rogers' attorney Jane Ruemmele. "This plea today acknowledges that, had she not been impaired, she might have been able to act more quickly."

Nevertheless, neighbors aren't convinced the whole truth has come out.

"I don't think it's fair," said neighbor Melvin Hemphill. "People say there was a meth lab there. If it blowed up and the baby died, she should get more."

Ruemmele says the plea deal is the best resolution to the case.

"The fire was not set by her," she said. "The state was not going to be able to prove that, which was why the murder charge was dropped months ago. The state realized it was best to dismiss the arson case as well."

Rogers, who has no prior felony convictions, is eligible for a suspended sentence. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Print this article Back to Top