Boy’s dad gets life term with no chance of parole

Roger Williams is escorted out of court by Berkeley County deputies Thursday after he was sentenced for the death of his son Rodricus.

MONCKS CORNER — The mother of the late Rodricus Williams sobbed so hard that she couldn’t speak Thursday while standing at the podium in front of a judge.

The father of her dead 2-year-old stood nearby, handcuffed and awaiting his sentence after a jury found him guilty in the death of their toddler.

Shaneka Washington didn’t need to say anything, though. Just minutes later, Circuit Judge Markley Dennis would deal with Roger Anthony Williams.

“In this sentence, there’s no question based on the acts you committed on this case,” Dennis said. “Your acts just warrant what I’m about to do.”

He sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for homicide by child abuse and 10 years to be served concurrently for unlawful conduct toward a child. The jury had taken about 33 minutes to reach its verdict.

“Indifference, that’s a mild understatement,” Dennis said.

The cold-hearted behavior portrayed by Williams in the death of his son was highlighted throughout the four-day trial where a jury watched the 31-year-old in a video buying the cement he would use to conceal his son’s body in June 2010 and asking the store clerk which concrete would dry faster.

Before the death of his son, Williams told people he needed to “man-up” Rodricus because he would stand like a girl, 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Anne Williams told the jury during closing remarks.

“The lack of feeling this defendant had for this beautiful child,” she said after the trial. “I’ve never seen a victim treated this way before.”

Before he was sentenced, Williams apologized to Washington, everyone’s family and friends, the jury, and the community. “I want everybody to know my intentions never meant to be cruel,” Williams said.

Even Williams’ apology lacked emotion for his dead son, according to Assistant Solicitor Debbie Herring-Lash.

“He never mentioned his child’s name when he apologized to friends, everybody, never Rodricus,” Herring-Lash said.

The trial, which began Monday, featured testimony from Grace Trotman, Williams’ ex-girlfriend. She pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse in February.

She testified she did “pop” the toddler shortly before he died, causing him to hit his head on the wall, but the prosecution contends it was Williams’ continuous beating of the toddler and neglect that led to his death.

Trotman told the jury earlier this week that Williams forbade her from calling an ambulance after the child was unresponsive on June 7, 2010, inside their Longbourne Way home in Summerville.

Williams put the concrete-filled trash can in which he had placed Rodricus’ body behind a trailer near Orangeburg, about 40 miles from their home.

About a month later, he and Trotman concocted a plan to pretend to lose the child at The Battery in downtown Charleston, where Trotman was supposed to be handing over the child to his mother, Washington. Trotman later led investigators to the body.

During closing remarks, Williams’ attorney, James Falk, told the jury his client was not responsible for Rodricus’ death and pointed to Trotman as the culprit.

“I know none of you want to be friends with my client,” he said during the closing remarks.

After the trial, Falk expressed concern over the amount of time the jury took to come back with a verdict and called it “grounds for reconsideration” in a possible appeal.

Trotman is expected to be sentenced in the near future, although a date has not been set. Williams also pleaded guilty to desecration of human remains, in which he was sentenced to 10 years to be served concurrently with his other sentences.

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