A Coachella man was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in prison for fatally beating his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter.
Jorge Melchor Castro, 35, was found guilty last November of second-degree murder and assault on a child for inflicting fatal injuries on Patricia Duarn on the night of April 5, 2013, or early the following morning.
The guilty verdicts came in Castro’s third trial. Two previous juries in 2016 were unable to reach verdicts on either count.
After being in Castro’s care while her mother was at work, the toddler was found unresponsive the following morning when her mother tried to wake her. The girl died at Loma Linda University Medical Center on April 7 of a fractured skull, subdural hemorrhage and extensive bruising to her head, prosecutors said.
Castro told deputies he took the child to relatives’ homes, a park and a 99-cent store on the night of April 5, before returning to their Coachella home and putting her to bed sometime after midnight. Family members who saw the youngster that night reported seeing no injuries of any kind.
Castro also phoned his girlfriend after midnight to say her daughter had urinated in her bed, prosecutors said. During a telephone conversation with her child, Castro’s girlfriend did not report noticing anything unusual.
Castro was also in charge of three other children that night, but it was unclear whether they were related to Duarn or Castro. The children were reportedly asleep throughout the night, and did not witness the beating.
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