On Monday, a Texas man was sentenced to life in prison for the November 2017 beating death of an 11-month-old boy who was in his care.
Miguel Gutierrez, 27, was convicted of Xzavier Cortez’s murder in November and is eligible for parole after 30 years. Gutierrez was found guilty of beating the boy — who San Antonio Fire and EMS paramedics testified was found unresponsive, with bruising to his torso, and the words “Thug Life” written on his stomach, according to KSAT.
Guiterrez was responsible for watching Cortez and the boy’s three siblings. After Cortez stopped breathing, Gutierrez alerted a relative who then called 911. Gutierrez initially denied harming the infant before admitting to squeezing him too hard, testimony revealed.
The Bexar County Medical Examiner determined Cortez bled to death, as he lost 25 percent of his blood. Dr. Kimberley Molina testified that dark, maroon blood, suggesting an acute injury, was found in his abdomen. The doctor also said she observed 18 external injuries from his abdomen to testicles, which had hemorrhaged, according to The San Antonio Express-News.
Cortez’s older sister, who was 6 at the time, testified that Cortez fell out of bed at least four times on the night of his death while Gutierrez was not there. While she did not say Gutierrez abused her brother on the night he died, she claimed he regularly beat him during other visits, he Express-News reported.
Molina said Cortez’s also suffered six rib injuries, in various stages of healing, which were inflicted one to three weeks before his death.
Reports also indicated that someone wrote “Thug Life” on Cortez’s stomach in black marker before he died.
Child Protective Services took custody of Cortez’s surviving siblings, but their paternal stepfather and his wife now have the three children.
The slain boy’s mother, Gabrielle Moya, 25, was charged with child abandonment — and Guiterrez’s attorneys argued that she is responsible for her son’s death because she asked Guiterrez to watch him. A trial date is pending.
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[Featured image: Xzavier Cortez/Bexar County DA’s Office]