Sex offender sentenced to life in prison in death of foster child

Sunday, December 17, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- A sex offender convicted of beating and strangling a teen was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole.

Andrew Roberson, 36, was convicted in November of first-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Dominic Williams. The teen was found naked in a trash bin five days before his birthday in June 2004.

Williams has become a symbol of problems in the Missouri foster care system.

State records show he was born premature and drug-addicted, and was removed from his mother by a judge at 7 months old because of medical neglect.

Officials shuffled Williams through the foster care system, once to a home that had no heat or electricity, state records show. He suffered from hearing and neurological damage, was mildly retarded and had behavioral problems.

Dominic's neighbors had described him as a boy who seemed lonely and was known for pacing his street alone several times a day. Court records indicate that by the time he was 9, state officials were losing hope that he would ever be adopted.

The Missouri Department of Family Services failed to place Williams in six viable permanent homes, including with his paternal grandmother, records show. But at his wake, a few people came forward to say that they had wanted to give him a permanent home, but for one reason or another, their request had been denied.

His last foster mother defended the state foster care system, blaming Roberson for the teen's death.

"It was the selfish, heinous and downright evil actions of Mr. Andrew Roberson that led to this child's death," Anna Hall said.

Roberson had a history of violence against teenage boys, including sodomizing a 14-year-old in 1986 and choking and sodomizing a 15-year-old fellow inmate at a juvenile detention center the following year.

He pleaded guilty in both cases and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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