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Man gets life in prison for homicide by child abuse in son's death

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Roger Williams Roger Williams
Grace Trotman Grace Trotman
Roger and Rodricus Williams Roger and Rodricus Williams
BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

A man was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of homicide by child abuse in the death of his son who was found in a cement-filled trash can.

Roger Williams was found guilty on Thursday of homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct towards a child for the 2010 death of his son, Rodricus Williams.

During the sentencing hearing, a relative of Rodricus' thanked the judge and said "Rodricus got his day." Rodricus' mother, Shaneka Washington, attempted to make a statement but was visibly shaken.

Williams then spoke and apologized to Washington. The judge told Williams for what he did, "indifference was putting it mildly."

Shortly after the verdict was read, Williams' attorney asked for a new trial stating that the 33 minutes that jury deliberated was too short. The judge denied the motion for a new trial.

Before the verdict was given, the judge told the jury that they could consider three different charges for Williams which included homicide by child abuse, aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct towards a child.

Evidence presented throughout the week included video shown to jurors of Williams buying cement and a trash can from a local hardware store.

On Wednesday, a recorded phone call between Williams and his ex-girlfriend's sister, Ramona Smith, was played for jurors Wednesday morning. On the recorded conversation, Williams admitted that he hit Rodricus so hard that the boy's chest was bruised.

Williams then admits in the call that he was scared when he found his son unresponsive and tried to give his son CPR.

In another recorded interview played to jurors, Williams recounts to a Berkeley County Sheriff's detective what happened just before and after the day Rodricus died.

Williams says he rushed home from work after hearing his son was unresponsive. He said the boy seemed "out of life."

Then he and then girlfriend, Grace Trotman, chose not to call an ambulance, according to authorities. In the recording, Williams admitted to dumping his son's body in a cement filled trash can and taking it to the woods near Vance, SC.

"I got scared. I looked at Grace, the first thing I said, 'We're two good people, I don't believe this is happening to us,'" Williams said in the recording. "There's no way. I look at her and say 'What do you want to do? What do you want to do now?'"

One thing that Williams did not admit to in the recording is abusing the child. Authorities say Williams told the detective that Rodricus had fallen down the stairs the week before and that he had been playing rough with his older sister which he said may have caused the boy's head injuries.

On Tuesday, Trotman took the stand and testified that she witnessed the Williams physically and emotionally abuse his son.

Trotman said she saw Williams abuse his son when she was living in Williams' home. Trotman said she observed Williams hit his son numerous times with closed fists.

Trotman also testified that after Rodricus suffered a seizure, Roger Williams would not let her call an ambulance. Trotman said Rodricus' seizure happened after she hit the 2-year-old on his arm which caused his head to hit a wall.

She testified Williams got a trash can, filled it with cement and water, and dropped Rodricus in head-first. Trotman said they used a rental truck to transport the trash can to an abandoned mobile home near Bowman in Orangeburg County, where they left it.

Trotman said Williams then told her to tell police Rodricus fell into the water on The Battery in downtown Charleston.

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