Adoption Murder In Bayfield, Colorado
Dennis and Sandy Evers, according to friends and neighbors, had a close and loving family. Indeed, they appeared to be well liked in their community. In addition to their seven biological and three adopted children, the Everses have cared for more than 60 foster children.
But all was not well on the night of June 13th, 1998. When Dennis and Sandy Evers went to bed, their adopted daughter, 6-year-old Roberta Evers, was restrained in her bed, covered with bruises, and dead from choking on her own vomit.
The Evers' said she was confined because she hurt herself and misbehavior resulting from abuse by her biological parents earlier in life. They also claim that Roberta was alive when they went to bed. But the autopsy showed the above conditions as well as a large amount of stomach contents in Roberta’s body proved she died early on the night of June 13 – and was not alive when the Evers retired at 11:30 P.M.
Dennis and Sandy Evers were tried in May, 1999 on charges of criminally negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. Roberta was removed from her birth family due to having been severely sexually abused. District Attorney Sarah Law also put forth new evidence and theory: that Roberta had been abused through malnourishment when the couple allegedly withheld food, water and medical care.
Prosecution witnesses also testified that she was a normally obedient girl.
The jury, after more than six hours of deliberation on May 11th, 1999, Dennis and Sandy Evers were convicted of criminally negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. Dennis Evers was also convicted of tampering with evidence, which carries a sentence of up to 18 months.
Ms. Law had sought a conviction for criminal negligence, which could have meant up to 12 years in prison. The lesser charge carries a sentence of up to six years.
At the Evers' sentensing hearing on July 23, 1999, several members of the jury, though dismissed by Chief District Judge Greg Lyman and with no further legal standing, made public a letter to the judge asking that the Everses be sentenced to a punishment more severe than simply probation.
The judge sentenced Dennis and Sandy Evers to 180 days and 90 days in jail, respectively. The two were also each given six years of probation. Sandy Evers is to begin her sentence after Dennies completes his jail time.
A few weeks after Roberta’s death, the Montezuma County Department of Social Services removed 5-year-old Jessica May Godfrey and her 2-year-old sister Samantha from the Evers’ home. They were were placed in the Evers’ home as foster children by the Montezuma County Department of Social Services in September 1997. The Evers said they had hoped to adopt the two girls, and were only two months away from finalizing their adoption when Roberta Evers died.
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