Defense presents 1st witness in trial of Cleveland County woman accused of allowing abuse that led to son’s death

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The state rested its case Tuesday afternoon in the trial of Rebecca Hogue, a Cleveland County woman charged with first-degree murder for allegedly allowing abuse that led to her son’s death.

The defense started presenting its witnesses shortly after 2:45 p.m. Tuesday. Hogue’s best friend of eight years, Taylyn Mitchell, took the stand.

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Rebecca Hogue
Jeremiah Ryder Johnson

Mitchell testified Hogue talked about her ex-boyfriend Christopher James Trent‘s drinking problem, but she never told her that she thought Trent was abusing her son, 2-year-old Jeremiah Johnson.

Hogue called police after finding her son unresponsive on Jan. 1, 2020.

She claims she gave Hogue tips on how to punish her son because Hogue did not believe in punishing Ryder and would cry if she had to punish him.

Mitchell told the court the only incident that she heard about from Rebecca was when Trent popped Ryder on his hand, and she told him never to do it again.

Christopher Trent

Trent was the primary suspect in Ryder’s death. He hanged himself in the Wichita Wildlife Refuge three days after the toddler died

Before the prosecution rested, they called a University of Oklahoma physician to testify.

Dr. Ryan Brown stated Ryder arrived at the hospital on Jan. 1, 2020, with a body of temperature of 87.6.

He was cold and had significant bruises on his body.

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