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31 years to life in prison for Santa Ana man convicted of murdering baby

Juan Carlos Aguilar, 25, of Santa Ana, was charged in the death of an 18-month-old girl.

October 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Santa Ana man was sentenced Friday to 31 years to life in prison for child abuse and murder in the death of a baby.

Juan Carlos Aguilar, 27, was arrested in 2011 after his girlfriend's sister's unconscious baby was hospitalized. The baby died with multiple internal injuries.

On July 9, 2011, Aguilar was at home alone with his girlfriend's sister's 18-month-old baby.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Aguilar assaulted the victim with great force by squeezing her ribcage with his hands. The defendant caused multiple traumatic injuries to the victim, including bruises and lacerations to her body and face, and internal injuries to her lungs, liver, and brain.

Aguilar's girlfriend and daughter came home to find the victim limp and having trouble breathing. Aguilar insisted that his girlfriend not call the police and instead drove the victim from Santa Ana to the Newport Beach hotel where her mother worked, the OCDA said.

After picking up Rodriguez's mother, Aguilar drove with the women to take the victim to Santa Ana Coastal Community Hospital. Rodriguez had shallow breath and a slight pulse upon arrival. She was pronounced dead approximately 15 minutes later.

The defendant was charged with the murder on July 12, 2011. As part of the OCDA's ongoing investigation, it was determined that Aguilar was involved in another case in 2009. The defendant abused a 2-month-old female relative by squeezing and fracturing her rib cage, similar to the assault of Rodriguez. The baby in this case survived her injuries.

Aguilar was convicted on August 5, 2013 of one felony count of murder, one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, and two felony counts of child abuse. He was sentenced Friday to 31 years to life in state prison.

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