Anthony Avalos’ mother and her boyfriend were found guilty Tuesday of torturing and killing the 10-year-old California boy.
Heather Barron, 33, and Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 37, were convicted of first-degree murder, as well as torture and child abuse of two other children at their home. The twisted couple waived the right to a jury trial.
He death occurred in Lancaster, California, in June 2018after Barron called 911 to report that his son was unconscious.
Little Anthony was then taken to a hospital where doctors noted that he was “severely malnourished and dehydrated” before dying the next morning.
Prosecutors said the 10-year-old boy had been beaten, starved and tortured, covered in bruises, abrasions and cigarette burns to his stomach.
A depiction of severe torture was painted in court.
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The mother and her boyfriend poured hot sauce on Anthony’s face, forced him to kneel on uncooked rice, whipped him with a belt and ropes, repeatedly held him upside down, and dropped him on his head.
Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami described the guilty couple as “wicked” and as “monsters”, reported ABC News.
Barron’s attorneys claimed their client was the victim of a cycle of abuse that began with her suffering at the hands of her stepfather.
Leiva’s lawyers said there were “reasonable doubts” about his intent to kill, and argued that many of the ideas for abuse and punishment came from Barron before Leiva carried them out.
Barron and Leiva could be sentenced to life in prison without parole. They are currently being held without bail.
In October, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $32 million settlement for the boy’s relatives, who attempted to notify the county Department of Children and Family Services. An investigation showed that the department received at least 16 reports of abuse inflicted on Anthony at his home.