A man who was still in his teens when he and his 41-year-old girlfriend brutally tortured three children will serve two life sentences for the 2015 crime that left two young victims dead.
According to Fox News, 20-year-old Gonzalo Curiel, of Salinas, California, moved in with Joy Huntsman and three children under the age of 9 who were in her custody.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the beating that proved fatal for the two youngest children — ages 3 and 6 — began when the oldest, 9, took a bagel without permission.
Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Steve Somers said earlier this year that “Jane Doe stole a bagel on Thanksgiving that led to the beatings, the hardest and strongest beatings, that led to the two other kids’ deaths.”
The 9-year-old girl “feels tremendous weight and responsibility” for her perceived role in the younger children’s deaths, Somers said.
A pattern of violent abuse predated that attack, however. Authorities say the two suspects beat and starved the three children for months in 2015 before the two youngest died in November.
The surviving 9-year-old testified in court the following month. Authorities discovered her on the floor of a vehicle and exposed to the elements in the cold winter weather.
Reports indicate Curiel and Huntsman transported the deceased children to a storage facility in Redding, where their bodies were found after the suspects told investigators about the locker.
Curiel pleaded guilty to the charges against him in April, two months after Huntsman issued the same plea.
Monterey County Superior Court Judge Pamela Butler made it clear she believed Curiel “should never get out of state prison” for behavior she described as “reflective of a ruthlessness that is rarely seen.”
He was not eligible for the death penalty due to a state law that prohibits capital punishment for those convicted of crimes committed when they were teens.
The surviving child said she forgives her former guardians. She has been placed in a foster home.
[Featured image: Gonzalo Gonzo Curiel and Tami Huntsman, Police Handout]