rubie-boland.jpgIn April 2010 a mother, Helen Teal left her 22 month old daughter, Rubie Boland in the care of her then boyfriend, Andrew Roberts who is from Kiln, Mississippi. While Helen was gone something apparently went very wrong and Andrew found himself taking the child to her grandmother’s home telling the grandmother that she fell off the sofa and hit her head.They called 911 and reported to the operator that the little girl was unresponsive.

Now once the baby was sent to Oschner’s Hospital in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana they found after examining the baby that she had injuries to her brain and retina as well as bruising on the top of her little head and her feet indicating cruel and unusual trauma. Rubie was pronounced brain dead and she was removed from life support the next afternoon.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain said, “It’s not simply Shaken Baby Syndrome that killed this child, but a violent attack.”

andrew-roberts.jpgProsecutors say that Andrew Roberts has changed his story about what happened to young Rubie three different times during interviews with him. First he claimed that the baby fell off the sofa onto the floor while he was in the bathroom.

When he was called back in and questioned once again because his story just wasn’t fitting the facts, he told them that while changing Rubie’s diaper, saying the pants made him mad, he stood up and yanked the child up by her pants. “I came up quick and fast and hard,” he told prosecutor Scott Gardner. He went on to say that she came out of her pants and fell on the floor head first. He then admitted that his first story was a lie and he didn’t tell the truth because he was scared.

Later during that same interview lead detective Alvin Hotard told Roberts that the story he was giving then still didn’t match with the forensics report they had. After trying to convince them he was telling the truth, he finally broke down and changed his story yet a third time.

He was crying as he spoke telling them that he was frustrated and he held Rubie upside down and repeatedly hit her head on the floor. He kept saying that he got mad at the pants. When asked why he would get mad like that he used the excuse that it was because he was high on weed at the time. Apparently he was saying that being high on weed caused him to hit the baby’s head on the floor five times.

Roberts was arrested and charged with second degree murder at the St. Tammany Parish jail, in Covington, Louisiana.

Rubie’s father, Scott Boland was understandably upset over the charges and said openly that he wanted this man to be charged with first, not second degree murder and get the death penalty. He said:

“I feel that what he did was not 2nd degree. I feel that he knew what he was doing when he picked my daughter up by her feet and started shaking her up and down and banging her head on the floor.”

In court the prosecutors played the 911 tape from the day this happened. Scott Boland was asked what he heard on the tape. His answer is heartbreaking for anyone that has a heart. His response was, “My daughter’s last breath. I just heard her gasping for air.”

“It’s extremely difficult,” he continues to say. “It’s like reliving everything all over again.”

Today after a short deliberation at the St Tammany Parish Courthouse in Covington Louisiana, a jury found Andrew Roberts guilty of second degree murder of 22 month old Rubie Boland. He now faces a mandatory life sentence.

I can understand Scott Boland’s frustrations but at least this man will probably be sentenced to life in prison. My problem is, will he actually serve life? Unless they specify “without benefit of parole” I wouldn’t be satisfied. Andrew Roberts should never be free on the streets again after what he has done to this baby. Rubie was just learning to walk and now she will no longer be able to walk the streets so why should Roberts.

Rubie was an adorable little girl and I know she is missed dearly by her family but at least we know she is in heaven sitting on Jesus’s lap along with all the other little children. She isn’t suffering from brain injury now. She is not having any pain at all, bless her little heart. My prayers are with her and her grieving family.

Jan Barrett

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