OAKLAND — A transvestite who deceived an adoption agency and became a foster mother has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the beating death of the 14-month-old boy placed in his home.
Thursday's ruling against Gregory T. Rogers, 30, was the second conviction in the death of Nathan Moncrieff, who died in a hospital a day after he was beaten with a shoe and shaken violently. An autopsy showed the baby had bruises from head to shin.
Alvin Woodard, who lived with Rogers, has already been convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge David Lee said he would have preferred to convict Rogers of premeditated murder, but there was insufficient evidence.
'A Violent Death'
"The victim was born into this world with precious little, and he got nothing out of it but a violent death," the judge said.
Second-degree murder carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Rogers is to be sentenced Feb. 8.
Prosecutors argued that Rogers, also known as Jean Woodard, beat the baby to collect $20,000 on a life insurance policy. Rogers claimed he beat the child to try to stop seizures he was having.
Rogers' attorney, Michael Bailey, blamed the tragedy on Oakland's Black Adoption Placement and Research Center, which placed the child with the two men posing as man and wife. The private agency has been temporarily closed by the authorities.
"If you want a real crime, it's the act of giving them a child," Bailey said.
The child was born to a heroin-addicted mother in San Francisco and placed with Rogers and Woodard, 25, by the adoption center a year later.
Life 'One Major Deception'
Prosecutor M. J. Tocci called Rogers' life "one major deception" and said the baby was adopted only as a "symbol . . . to show the community they were a normal couple."
The two men had been given temporary custody of the child about three months before his death in June, 1986.
According to testimony during the trial, the couple were told they could legally adopt the boy after one year if they proved they were responsible parents.