The man convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a 10-year-old Cedar Rapids girl nearly a year ago was sentenced to life in prison Friday. Jetseta Gage’s mother, Trena, spoke in court before the sentencing, her first public statements since her daughter was found murdered and Roger Bentley was arrested and charged with the crime.
“Tears of sorrow came over me,” Trena said, pausing as she fought back tears. “And anger and hatred for Roger Bentley overwhelmed me.” Jetseta’s grandmother, Teresa, was the first to speak in yesterday’s hearing, reading from a two-page statement. “One night Roger destroyed our world. He kidnapped, raped and murdered my precious granddaughter,” Teresa said.
“No one should ever have to go through what she went through and I can’t imagine her little body being tortured like it was.” Bentley took Jetseta to a trailer home 11 months ago, where he raped and suffocated her. Jetseta’s mother said she had to be hospitalized because she is overcome by the horrendous acts committed on her daughter. “I wake up every single day thinking about the horrible things that Roger did to Jetseta and it sickens me,” Trena said.
Bentley, who is 38 and had a previous sex abuse conviction, passed on his opportunity to speak in court. Bentley was a friend of the Gage family, and Jetseta’s mother and grandmother say they never knew he was a convicted sex offender.
The judge who handed down the manditory life prison sentence yesterday told Bentley it was “very difficult to express the level of fear, loathing, horror, disgust and shame” that Bentley’s “despicable…acts against this little girl caused us all.”