When Angelina Rodriguez cried while her parents partied in their one-bedroom West Rogers Park apartment, the 5-month-old paid the price by being suffocated by her father while her mother stood by.
Most mothers, even those who are battered like Angela Petrov, would “shield and jump in the way” to protect their offspring from harm. But Angela Petrov “sat there while it happened,” Cook County Judge Maura Slattery Boyle said Thursday before sentencing Petrov to 75 years in prison for the baby’s murder.
It was Rigoberto Rodriguez’s hands that covered Angelina’s mouth, “but Petrov did nothing” to stop him that night on April 11, 2013, the judge said. “She sat there and allowed the torture of this child.”
Petrov, who testified that she tried to grab Angelina from Rodriguez, sobbed in court before she was sentenced, telling Slattery Boyle that she deeply mourns for her dead child.
“Nothing that happens today can compare to the loss of my child and the grief that I feel,” the 24-year-old Petrov said through tears.
Petrov suffers from depression, said her attorney, Richard McLeese.
Rodriguez, 31, is serving an 85-year prison sentence.
The couple were listening to music and drinking a combination of Hennessy, Sprite and Red Bull in their West Rogers Park home in the 2500 block of West Fitch when Angelina interrupted them with her cries, Assistant State’s Attorney Megan Mulay said.
Petrov initially took her youngest child out of her playpen, but then Rodriguez took Angelina and covered her mouth three times for 30-second intervals as the baby gasped for air.
Petrov told Rodriguez that “something bad was going to happen” and that what he was doing was “dangerous,” according to court testimony. But instead of checking on Angelina after Rodriguez put her “limp” body back into the playpen, the couple had sex and fell asleep, prosecutors said.
They didn’t check on Angelina until the next day when they noticed she was unresponsive.
Even at the hospital, Petrov denied that Angelina was exposed to trauma, Mulay said.
“She’s cruel. She’s mean. She’s a killer,” the prosecutor said. “She knew what she did and she knew what she didn’t do, and the only thing she feared was getting caught.”
McLeese said it was unfair to characterize Petrov as a murderer. Like Angelina, Petrov also was abused by Rodriguez, McLeese said.
Just two days before Rodriguez attacked Angelina, he beat Petrov so badly she suffered broken teeth and lacerations, the defense attorney said. Like most battered women, Petrov often misrepresented the source of her injuries, he explained.
“She was not the principal actor here. The principal actor was someone who terrorized her for years,” McLeese said.
Rodriguez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 85 years in prison.