GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Efforts are underway by a Greensboro mother and others to bring her son back to the U.S. from a Kuwaiti prison where he’s serving a life sentence for a crime she says he didn’t commit.
Jermaine Rogers, 42, is serving a life sentence after being found guilty of possessing seven grams of cocaine. However, his family claims the Cummings High School graduate was set up more than two years ago when police in Kuwait executed a search warrant at his home and claimed to have found drugs. The father of five was sentenced to death by hanging but an appeal earlier this year reduced that sentence to life in prison.
“My heart is heavy every day,” said Ingram. “It's hard not seeing or hearing from my son."
Ingram along with Rogers’ fiancée, Karina Mateo who lives in Texas with her daughter, are trying to prove his innocence. They’ve contacted several government agencies but without any success so far to bring him back to the U.S.
"We need justice, we need to bring him home,” Mateo said.
Mateo set up a petition online to detail the case and get signatures.
“I don't stop, there hasn't been a day I don't do something, try to get somebody to help me,” Mateo said.
Details on the site include Rogers’ lawyer arguing the search warrant issued had the wrong address and evidence tested from the home initially came up negative for drugs but a second test two days later along with an additional piece of evidence came up positive for cocaine.
"I don't think my son would have been selling drugs, and taking a chance to get caught and lose all his benefits that he worked all these years for,” Ingram said.
Rogers has lived in North Carolina since he was five-years-old after moving from Connecticut. He graduated from Cummings and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1994. Rogers was medically discharged after hurting his back. In 2006 he started working as a contractor for General Dynamics at Camp Arifjan until the day of his arrest.
Rogers’ case is known to a few U.S. Senators including Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. He wrote a letter to former Secretary of State John Kerry last year and addressed a new letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on December 6 asking his office to investigate the case.
North Carolina Senator Tom Tillis’s office released this statement;
“Several Senate offices, including Senator Tillis’ office, have been in contact with the Rogers family. Our office has also been in communication with the State Department to receive updates on how Mr. Rogers is being treated.”
Rogers family is concerned he’s not receiving proper medical care by Kuwaiti officials for a pre-existing kidney disease and his service connected back injury.
Representatives from the U.S, Embassy in Kuwait have visited Rogers occasionally in prison and snapped photos of his living conditions to share with Mateo. Also, Rogers’ mother and fiancée sometimes get an opportunity to speak with him briefly on the phone.
Despite Rogers’ situation, Mateo remains desperate for more assistance from the U.S. Government while Ingram stays hopeful.
"I still have faith in God,’ she said.
She prays her son one day returns home.
To sign the petition click here.