Aurora woman, brother get prison for neglect of mother
By Matt Hanley firstname.lastname@example.org August 13, 2012 3:12PM
Aurora siblings Connie A. Roberson (left), Alan K. Roberson (top right) and Kevin H. Roberson are accused of neglecting their 77-year-old mother.
Updated: November 30, 2012 11:01AM
ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP — When her children were small, Martha Roberson fed them, cleaned them, cared for them. She made sacrifices for their well being.
But when it came time to do the same for her, Martha Roberson’s children did not return the kindness. Instead, Kevin, Alan and Connie Roberson let their mother sit in a loveseat for weeks in her own excrement and urine. They ignored lice in her hair and maggots on her leg that would eventually lead doctors to amputate. They let the 77-year-old woman’s toenails grow more than an inch long. They turned a blind eye to sores that grew so deep bone was exposed.
The siblings made their mother a prisoner of her aging body, Kane County prosecutors charged.
Now each siblings will have their own time in prison to reflect on their lack of action.
Monday afternoon, Alan Roberson, 55, was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Clint Hull. His sister Connie Roberson, 51, who finally called police on Oct. 2, 2011, received a lighter sentence — 2 1/2 years in prison. Last week, their younger brother, Kevin, 43, received a three-year sentence from Hull. All three had pleaded guilty to felony criminal neglect or abuse of an elderly person.
Kevin, Connie and Alan Roberson, who all lived together with their mother in the 1100 block of North Randall Road, will receive credit for more than 300 days they have served in the Kane County Jail while awaiting sentencing. They are all eligible for day-for-day sentencing, meaning, they will earn one day off their sentence for every day they serve with good behavior.
Hull reserved his harshest words for Alan Roberson, who slept on a couch in the same room as his mother and admitted that he would drink to excess — 12 to 24 beers a day — so he didn’t have to deal with the situation around him. When questioned by police, Alan Roberson told officers it was someone else’s job to care for his mother and he shouldn’t have to bathe her.
“That’s not even cool,” Alan Roberson told an Aurora detective, according to prosecutors.
Defense attorney Ron Dolak said Alan Roberson was an alcoholic overwhelmed by his family situation.
“This isn’t the Waltons, this isn’t the Bradys, this isn’t the Cleavers. This isn’t even the Simpsons,” Dolak said.
But Hull said the Robersons had a legal obligation to care for their mother and Alan Roberson made no effort to do so. The prison time was necessary to deter others from making the same mistake.
Hull took some pity on Connie Roberson. She was the person who finally called 911 to get her mother help and stayed with her mother in the hospital. On the day police questioned her, she admitted she should have done more. She apologized again in court Monday.
“I’m really sorry for what has happened to my mother,” she said through tears. “I never wanted anything bad to happen to her. I do love my mother.”
Prosecutors pointed out that there was discussion among the siblings about calling an ambulance. The brothers convinced Connie Roberson to wait, fearing they would get in trouble.
“I don’t know how anyone could see maggots climbing on their mother’s leg and not call an ambulance,” Assistant State’s Attorney Deb Bree said.
All of the children said their mother resisted help and said she didn’t want to be moved.
“Even if their mother didn’t want her help, it was Connie’s responsibility to provide it,” Bree said. “You couldn’t turn a blind eye to that smell, that sight, that suffering.”
Hull said he believed Connie Roberson’s remorse was genuine. He pointed out that she seemed to be the only sibling who provided any care to Martha Roberson, who is now living in a DeKalb nursing home.
Hull said in a society where people are living longer than ever, many families face these same challenging circumstances. At times, the task can seem overwhelming, but ignoring it cannot be an answer, Hull said.
“I understand the victim in this case may have been uncooperative,” he said. “That does not mean the responsibility to care for a parent ceases to exist.”