Noah Cuatro's parents plead no contest in murder, torture of 4-year-old Palmdale boy staff KABC logo
Friday, March 29, 2024
Noah Cuatro's parents plead no contest to murder of Palmdale boy
Jose Cuatro and Ursula Juarez were accused of abusing their son Noah Cuatro for years before his 2019 death.

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- The parents of Noah Cuatro have agreed to plead no contest to the murder and torture of the 4-year-old Palmdale boy.

The plea deal was entered in court Friday. Sentencing, along with victim impact statements, was scheduled for April 30. Officials say they also waived their right to appeals.

Jose Cuatro, 32, and Ursula Juarez, 30, were facing trial in the 2019 death of their son, who was said to have been assaulted and abused over a period of years before his death.

2020 court appearance by parents of Noah Cuatro

Noah Cuatro case: Parents plead not guilty in 4-year-old Palmdale boy

Jose Cuatro agreed to plead no contest to first degree murder, which carries a potential sentence of 25 years to life, and torture, which carries 7 years to life.

Juarez agreed to plead no contest to second degree murder, which carries 15 years to life, and torture, which carries 7 years to life.

Noah Cuatro

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The case placed new scrutiny on the county Department of Children and Family Services, which had been called to the home but was facing blame for failing to prevent the boy's death. Noah's death was one of several horrific child abuse and murder cases in the Antelope Valley, including the deaths of Anthony Avalos and Gabriel Fernandez, which placed the agency under a harsh spotlight.

Noah's family members said they were satisfied with the outcome of the case, bringing some measure of justice to Noah.

"I'm really happy with the results today," said Maggie Hernandez, Noah's aunt. "I don't forgive them for what they've done. Because we really loved Noah so much."

Prosecutor Jon Hatami, who also handled the other Antelope Valley child murder cases, said just hearing the details of the abuse made him tear up.

"Right now I have 15 active child murder cases," Hatami said. "So these cases are very hard. They affect the entire family."

Hatami is confident that at sentencing, Cuatro and Juarez will face harsh penalties.

"At least his voice was heard. I believe he's in heaven and I believe at least people see he mattered. These two individuals will now spend the rest of their lives in prison."