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Convicted child killer sentenced to death

September 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Van Nuys man has been sentenced to death for torturing and killing his girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter and abusing the girl's 6-year-old brother.In July, a jury convicted 29-year-old Antonio Rodriguez of the first-degree murder of Desarie Saravia. She died on Nov. 12, 2004, after being sexually assaulted and beaten in the women's restroom at Hasley Canyon Park in Castaic.

Rodriguez was also convicted of torture, child abuse, corporal injury to a child, sexual penetration by a foreign object and assault on a child causing death.

The child's 32-year-old mother, Debby Saravia, is currently awaiting trial. She is charged in the same case with murder, two counts of child abuse and two counts of corporal injury to a child. If convicted, she faces a sentence of up to life in state prison.

Authorities arrested the couple in November 2004 after paramedics responded to a call in Castaic and found the girl in convulsions. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. The boy was also hospitalized.