PHOENIX — A Phoenix woman broke down in tears in court Monday as she pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the stabbing deaths of her three little boys.
Octavia Rogers walked into a Phoenix courtroom, cried and hyperventilated Monday morning.
Finally, she blurted out, “Help me.”
Gary Bevilacqua, Rogers’ attorney, put his arm on her shoulder as the 29-year-old faced Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Erin O’Brien Otis.
Outside the courtroom, Bevilacqua said he had only recently been handed the case and didn’t know what sort of defense will be mounted for his client.
The bodies of Rogers’ sons were discovered in a closet on June 2 after her brother came home from work to find her bloodied and rambling about God.
Rogers was hospitalized in critical condition after she had stabbed herself several times and tried to drown herself in a bathtub after the boys — 8-year-old Jaikare Rahaman, 5-year-old Jeremiah Adams and 2-month-old Avery Robinson — had been killed.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety admitted it had investigated three reports of problems at the home near 25th Avenue and Bell Road starting in 2010.
Case workers twice recommended to Rogers that she sign up for family preservation services.
She refused and there was no further action from the department.
The agency said in a release earlier this month, “There was no reason or legal grounds to take the children into emergency state care and the case was closed as unsubstantiated.”
Rogers was released from a hospital and shortly afterward was booked on suspicion of murder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.