Courtesy of Fox New: [https://www.foxnews.com/us/california-death-penalty-anthony-avalos-torture-case]
August 29 / 2019
A grand jury indicted his mother Heather Maxine Barron, 29, and her boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 33, on capital murder charges in October relating to Avalos’ death and the abuse of two other children in the home, the Los Angeles Times reported. They both pleaded not guilty.
“I know the death penalty won’t bring Anthony back, but this is one of the worst kind of crimes you could commit, so it deserves the worst kind of punishment,” David Barron, the victim’s uncle, told reporters after the hearing.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home in Lancaster, which is north of Los Angeles, on June 20, 2018, after his mother called to report that he had fallen down the stairs. Deputies found him unresponsive in the home, and he died at a hospital the next day.
Prosecutors allege Barron and Leiva poured hot sauce on the boy’s face and mouth, whipped him with a looped cord and belt and hung him upside down. They also dropped him on his head repeatedly, prosceutors said.
The boy’s autopsy showed he suffered a traumatic brain injury and had bruises, abrasions and scabs all over his body.
Prosecutors said the pair withheld food and force-fed the boy, threw him into furniture and on the floor, refused to allow him to use the bathroom, and forced other children in the home to hurt him, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Earlier this month, Anthony’s family filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), claiming the boy died despite at least 16 reports to the agency about alleged physical and sexual abuse at the home, KTLA reported.
Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce and the Associated Press contributed to this report.