WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – There was no forgiveness for a killer and his accomplice. This from the parents of a young man who was killed by Jonathan Rodgers and an accomplice Chris Bailey.
Wednesday, both men appeared together in a video conference for sentencing.
“How can I ever forgive you,” said Micah Palmer, the mother of Deondre Baldwin. “You cowardly pulled the trigger and ran.”
In 2016, Rodgers and Bailey broke into the apartment where Baldwin and his friend Brenner Larsen lived. Police said the men were after cash and drugs, but prosecutors said Baldwin and Brenner were not drug dealers and smoked marijuana for recreation.
The home invasion turned deadly when Baldwin confronted Bailey and was fatally shot by Rodgers. Larsen was also shot by Rodgers when he tried helping. He survived but is paralyzed from the waist down.
At Wednesday’s sentencing Larsen said his life has changed dramatically and will likely never walk again. But he also expressed regret.
“I have a hard time knowing that I made it but (Deondre) didn’t,” Larsen said.
Prior to sentencing both men were allowed to make statements.
“If I could change the way things happened and the results, I certainly would,” said Rodgers. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”
Rodgers was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years to life in prison.
“Mr. Rodgers felt his wants and desires were more important than anyone else’s,” said Judge Douglas Hogan. “And it’s the most extreme bit of selfishness a person can display.”
Bailey was also apologetic.
“I would like to apologize to the families for my participation, ultimately leading to the loss of life,” Bailey said.
His sentence was continued until later this summer, but Judge Hogan said he would not waiver from the agreed upon sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
During her statements, Micah Palmer she knew she would have to forgive at some point in order to move on with her life. But she said Wednesday was not the time for forgiveness. She said the pain of what happened in 2016 still haunts her.
“I will never forget falling to my knees (yelling) no, no, not my baby,” she said in near tears. “I have accepted this tragedy. (Deondre) lives in my heart.”
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