Michael Balderas of Santa Ana was recently sentenced to 25 years to life
in prison for beating his 2-year-old niece to death. He had been given
custody of his niece, Jo Jade, in October, 2005, after the girl's
parents went to federal prison in Texas on drug charges.
The jury convicted Balderas in January of second-degree
assault on a child likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in the death
of Jo Jade on March 30, 2006.
The key evidence in the case was a videotape of a police interview of Balderas
shortly after the child died. In the video, Balderas claimed he believed
Jo Jade was intentionally defying him by continuing to mess her diapers
even though he had warned her that such behavior was unacceptable and
would result in more beatings.
He admitted hitting the girl four or five times with his fingers and a
belt because she continued to mess her diapers while he was trying to
surf the internet and play poker. He noticed late in the afternoon that
she was unconscious after he had ordered her to take a nap.
Balderas and his girlfriend took his niece to the hospital, but doctors
were unable to resuscitate her. She was pronounced dead as a result of
internal injuries. A doctor who testified during trial said that was the
most severe beating of a child he had ever seen. The child had bruising
on every inch of her lower extremities.
If you, or someone you know has been charged with Murder,
Child Abuse or Assault Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury
contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Robert M. Bernstein for a free consultation today.