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Man Sentenced for Beating His 2-Year-Old Niece to Death

Man Sentenced for Beating His 2-Year-Old Niece to Death

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 murder and 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.


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