- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona woman sobbed and appeared to hyperventilate in court Monday as she pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the fatal stabbing and partial dismemberment of her three young children.

Octavia Rogers, 29, walked slowly into the quiet courtroom, breathed loudly and held her hands up to her chest as her cries grew louder. Finally, she blurted out, “Help me.”

Gary Bevilacqua, Rogers’ attorney, put his arm on her shoulder to calm her as she faced Court Commissioner Erin O’Brien Otis.

Rogers pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of 8-year-old Jaikare Rahaman, 5-year-old Jeremiah Adams and 2-month-old Avery Robinson.

The bodies of her sons were discovered on June 2 in a closet after Rogers’ brother came home from work to find her talking about God and saying she had found the answer to life. The children had been partially dismembered.

A police report says officers found Roger’s bleeding in a bathtub, screaming that “she was the creator” and “wanted to go back to the creator.” Police say Rogers had self-inflicted cuts to her abdomen and neck.

Outside of the courtroom, Bevilacqua said he was just assigned the case and didn’t know what sort of defense will be presented for Rogers.

Her older sister Voniticia Nickerson has called Rogers a devoted mother and said she saw no signs Rogers was troubled.

Rogers’ next court hearing is set for Aug. 1.

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