KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A sentencing hearing for a man convicted of killing three women here in Knoxville back in 2020 was held on October 6. The son of one of the victims said he’s glad this trial has ended and that he forgives his mother’s killer.
It’s been over three years since Tylor Trotter lost his mom, Barbara Rogers.
“Me and my mom, we were very close. She was a great cook, she was a wonderful sister, and a wonderful mother. She spent a lot of time towards the end of her life under the bridge serving the homeless with the church, and she just began to sing in the choir,” said Trotter.
According to the DA’s Office, Rogers was one of three women killed by Desmon Rhea. He recently had 37 years added to his life sentence without parole.
“The last three years have definitely been a process and it’s not one you could really have been prepared for,” Trotter explained. “I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness.”
During the trial, Trotter stood in front of Rhea and forgave him for his mother’s murder.
When he got up to the stand, Trotter said “I saw a child that was dealing with so much anger and so much fear and so much confusion, but I also saw a person who reminded me of myself 11 years ago.”
Trotter has been open about his struggles with addiction and incarceration after he robbed a Knoxville drug store. It’s been 11 years since then. Trotter said he’s learned that forgiveness and justice can go hand in hand.
“I do believe in our justice system because I believe that we as citizens have a responsibility to uphold justice,” he said. “I believe that when you take a life, especially when you take three lives. In that moment, you have given up your right to do the same things that other people do.”
Trotter adds that although the past can’t be undone, we can all learn from it and create a better future.
“The end of the story can be that we can actually overcome anything and so that way the message of overcoming and forgiveness will be the thing that prevails,” he said.
Trotter has lived in Knoxville his whole life and had a successful barber business. He recently moved to Jacksonville Florida to open a new church in the area with his family.