Man laughs as girlfriend repeatedly burns toddler with cigarette; appeals court upholds sentence

A Pennsylvania man learned that his sentence had been upheld after he was convicted of several criminal counts last year related to a 2015 child abuse investigation.

According to Penn Live, 27-year-old Enrique Soto had appealed the 38- to 76-month jail sentence as too lengthy.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Soto testified that he laughed as his then-girlfriend Anna Russell repeatedly burned her son with a cigarette.

Soto made his case in state appeals court this week, but a panel upheld the original sentence, as Judge Maria McLaughlin wrote in a majority opinion.

The judge found that he did not follow the prescribed steps in launching his appeal.

According to the ruling, however, the panel “would reject” such an appeal even if it had been presented correctly.

Part of Soto’s claim was that he was unfairly sentenced in comparison with Russell. She pleaded guilty to a range of criminal counts in exchange for a sentence of between one and two years behind bars.

The panel found that his argument “entitles him to no relief.”

Court records indicate Soto made no deal with prosecutors ahead of his sentencing.

Prior to the most recent charges, he had been convicted on counts including terroristic threats, assault and receiving stolen property.

When the 2-year-old victim was admitted to a Pittsburgh hospital in 2015, medical staff identified more than 15 burn marks on his body.

A 3-year-old sister was subsequently interviewed by investigators and said she saw Soto laugh “the whole time” her mother put out cigarettes onto her brother.

Both siblings were placed in foster care.

[Featured image: Enrique Soto, Pittsburgh Police Department]