A Corona man was sentenced Friday, Aug. 7, to 64 years to life in prison for torturing and murdering a 3-year-old boy.
A June 15 jury found Juan Carlos Marquez, 32, guilty of first-degree murder, torture and assaulting a child resulting in great bodily injury or death. The jury of six women and six men deliberated for less than four hours.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing, the victim’s aunts spoke of Carlos Ismael Galicia’s happy-go-lucky demeanor. They referred to him as Ismael. Deputy District Attorney Melissa Moore said that looking at pictures of the boy, she had “never seen a happier child.”
Aunt Lorena Barrientos said she’ll never forget her nephew’s personality.
“(Marquez) may have taken him physically, but the memories and beautiful moments are ours to keep,” Barrientos said.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing and throughout the trial, Marquez maintained his innocence.
“Even though I’m locked up, my family still honors his memory, because I didn’t kill him,” Marquez said in court Friday.
During trial, Marquez’s attorney, Peter Morreale, insisted that Ismaels mother, Nancy Barrientos Perez, 30, was responsible for the boy’s death. Perez and Marquez were in a relationship at the time of Ismael’s death.
Perez was arrested at the hospital Feb. 19, 2009. She initially claimed Ismael fell in the bathtub. When her account of the boy’s accident could not account for his injuries, court documents said. Perez was convicted in 2012 of involuntary manslaughter and assault on a child. She was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Moore, the deputy district attorney, argued during trial that Perez was covering for her boyfriend.
Marquez was watching the boy the day he died. He summoned Perez from her job at a hot dog stand in Riverside to their Corona home because the boy was ill, court documents say. Perez found her son lying on the floor, blue and almost unconscious. Marquez had told her that the boy had slipped in the bathtub, Perez told police. She then instructed Marquez to call 911. Paramedics took the boy to Corona Regional Medical Center, where he died minutes after his arrival.
Two days after the boy’s death, Marquez “skedaddled” to Mexico, Moore said. Marquez was charged in 2009 and extradited from Mexico in 2013.
Doctors later testified that the boy died not from an accident, but from punches to the back and stomach that severed his liver and stomach, causing him to bleed to death.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael B. Donner described the finding’s of Ismael’s autopsy. The boy was covered with bruises, bite marks and whip lashes.
“Great violence doesn’t even begin to describe what happened,” Donner said to the court.
He said that in his time as judge, this was one of the worst cases of child abuse he has ever seen.
“The autopsy photos of this 3-year-old are emblazoned in my mind,” Donner said.
The boy’s aunt, Lorena Barrientos, said she hopes Marquez will reflect on what he did while he serves his sentence.
Author: ALI TADAYON / STAFF WRITER / Press Enterprise