Hard Time: Judgment Day


This episode brought us out of the jail and into the courtroom. Through the stories of Rosemary Vandecar, Ivan Rios, and Rickie Slaughter, we got three very unique perspectives on the courtroom through the eyes of the defendants.

We started working with Rosemary first. Our crew had been following her for a while already for the ‘Jail Mom’ episode, so she was comfortable having us around. Having that relationship already established was crucial, because once her trial started things got very intense, very quickly. Rosemary was always smiling, always happy to see us when we arrived at her module, but as the week of her trial wore on, she became much more serious. And her fear began to show through her usually cheerful demeanor. Watching the footage, you can almost see her face aging over those five days, as the stress of the trial and the weight of personal demons take their toll on her. 

Everything changed once we got in the courtroom. Ivan Rios and Rickie Slaughter were both pretty candid and open about the crimes they were being accused of, but Rosemary refused to speak about the crime that she was on trial for. We knew it was murder, but had no details. On the first day of trial when the prosecutor gave opening statements, we got all the facts. The victim was a man with whom Rosemary and her son had been living. He was strangled to death on the bathroom floor. She had “confessed” after hours of interrogation by detectives. One shocking piece of information, that for legal reasons we were not allowed to film, was the fact that her own son was going to be testifying against her.

After the first day of trial when we saw Rosemary in the holding cell waiting to go back to her module, her only concern was that we would have lost respect for her or would not want to film with her any more after learning the details of her alleged crime. This was typical for Rosemary; although she was the one on trial, she was always concerned about how she was being perceived and what we thought of her. Three of her friends had flown in from Michigan to support her during the trial, and on the eve of her verdict Rosemary’s main concern was which Vegas shows and tourist sights they were going to see while in town.  It was a much-needed distraction for her, and in a way I suppose that’s what we provided her with as well: people to talk to, and a distraction from the pressure of the trial.

We made a routine of meeting up with Rosemary when court got out each night and interviewing her in her cell. It was during these chats that she began to really express the fear and doubt that she usually tried so hard to hide. She maintained that she was innocent of her charges, but began to express more and more doubt in her legal team and in the jury. By the last day of the trial, Rosemary was a nervous wreck. 

Once the jury deliberated after closing arguments, we followed Rosemary to a holding cell and prepared to camp out, not knowing how long it would take the jury to reach a verdict. It’s not uncommon for juries to take days to come to an agreement, like they did with Ivan Rios’ trial. Everyone was therefore shocked when the court called us just a couple hours later, and we followed Rosemary and her officer escorts back to court. She seemed strangely calm. She said she was just worn out and ready for this to be over. We returned to the courtroom and watched as she received the verdict.

Tune in to Hard Time: Judgement Day tonight at 9P.


  1. Arizona Tim
    September 26, 2012, 11:37 am

    I really think this women was innocent and I think her son did the murder?

  2. Jennifer Vandecar
    September 27, 2012, 12:40 pm

    I am deeply saddened by these events. As her “true” eldest daughter, this is painful and hard to deal with.

  3. Scott
    September 27, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Enjoyed the series. A jury that needs only 2 hours to come to a verdict leaves little doubt in my mind that Vandecar is the killer and that she belongs in prison.

  4. Rachel
    January 22, 2013, 3:40 am

    I do not believe for one second Rosemary did it, I knew her, through Dan, because Dan and I dated for a short time in Saint Robert, MO and Clarksville, TN. No offense Jennifer, But Dan was violent, and abusive. I remember when I went home back to AR, I had most my body covered with bruises at the hands of Dan. This is so sad to me. He was crazy and knew exactly how to play people. Rosemary was always so kind to me on the phone, and in Saginaw, MI when I first met her, back in early 2008, before Dan deployed. He is a part of my life I am so glad I never have to deal with again! The guy scared me to be truthful.

  5. Rachel
    January 22, 2013, 3:50 am

    P.S. It sucks so bad to be just now finding all this out…..And have to see her being done this way!

  6. Terry
    Las Vegas, NV
    February 9, 2013, 10:51 pm

    This woman is where she belongs. She made a confession that was tossed because of a legal system in need of repair. His autopsy revealed a crushed trachea with relief that matched the rings she was wearing at the time, her son wore no rings. She did this, no doubt, and admitted to the brutal killing once. She is a wicked, calculating, and premeditated killer. Don’t let her death warmed over mother-in-law innocent play tempt you, she is a cold blooded killer who will thankfully die behind bars with public a little more safe. One more monster out of society.

  7. miray khoury
    beverley hills
    March 21, 2013, 10:38 am

    Terry u need to keep ur opinion to urself. your comment is uncalled for and u are not god to judge, im sure ur not an angel urself with a halo above ur head therefore aim to be a kind person and not talk like this as one day a family
    member of urs could make a mistake and u wouldnt want people calling them monsters im sure.

  8. miray khoury
    March 21, 2013, 10:44 am

    By the way terry her daughter has left a comment above explaining how sad this is. Obviously its a very hard time in life for a daughter to see her mother go through this event . At least have a bit of respect for the family members that can see ur comment.. that

  9. Reverend Robert
    May 18, 2013, 7:04 pm

    Although it is not up to us to judge, I personally have ties to this family ( unfortunately) and so I have seen first hand and am concerned about mental stability of many members of the family. I am quite confident that the jury made the right decision. I feel no sorrow here. The saddest thing about any of this is the fact that, from what I’ve experienced, there are oth
    er family members that only sorry for being caught. I will end my comment right there as I still have to deal with a member of this family on a regular basis. I for one do not fear them. Boys only have the power that you give them.

  10. Reverend Robert
    May 18, 2013, 7:10 pm

    Talk to text is not working very well. I meant to say ollies only have the power can you give them.

  11. Reverend Robert
    May 18, 2013, 7:14 pm

    Lol! Wow try this again! Bullies!!!

  12. Francesca
    July 18, 2013, 3:33 pm

    Guys, I think that im inlove in Ivan Rios, I want to text him in a jail lol, but im not kiding i really want to met this guy, … can somehow somebody to tell me his adress in jail or something i really want to do please! 🙂

  13. Francesca
    July 18, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Guys, I think that im inlove in Ivan Rios, I want to text him in a jail lol, but im not kiding i really want to met this guy, … can somehow somebody to tell me his adress in jail or something i really want to do please! 🙂

  14. John Roop
    February 6, 2014, 4:58 am

    Ivan Rios is a p.o.s. he and two others killed two of my best friends. Then went back a few hours later and robbed them. The sick bastards took my murdered friends laptop had it cleaned and was found that he gave it to his kid to use. I hope he gets what is due to him. The streets have a way of dealing with this slime. He was let off by an ignorant jury that didn’t understand the way he was being charged. Murderer, murderer, murderer.

  15. Mary Jordan
    South Carolina
    June 8, 2016, 2:26 pm

    Rosemary is where she should be. She admitted to what she did. I feel bad for her kids especially the son who is obviously being judged and convicted because of past mistakes. He served our country and as an aunt of a Marine who’s vehicle was bombed and he watched his friends die it is not an easy thing for them to live with. It’s called ptsd and you should read up on it. Everyone has made mistakes and he owned up to his and turned his life around. I don’t believe he has anything to do with it. I’m entitled to my opinion and if you don’t like it just skip right over it as I don’t need or want your holier than thou comments

  16. Jenny Montenegro
    August 5, 2016, 7:55 pm

    I thinK the jury droppede the ball on This one. Therese is no way there was no reasonable doubt. Its just really really sad!

  17. Ned Kelly
    March 25, 5:17 pm

    I think for a jury to only take 2 hours to find a guilty verdict shows to me they were more interested in in getting home than defining the truth. To make a judgement call without knowing all the facts or better still being on the scene is right out of order and uncalled for. Your legal system is so screwed up that the truth in any trial to me is suspect especially when questions have to be answered either yes or no without being able to give an explanation of the whole. Just because 12 jury members make a decision does not necessarily mean it is right or wrong, they are not infallible and as for the sentencing process that is so stupid that it defies description, reading that people get 100’s of years or even up to 1200 years, I mean are these judges for real? or is it stupidity reigns supreme. Closing I would say this from what I have read about the case I would find it impossible to find a guilty verdict.