Mom, Boyfriend GUILTY in Torture Murder of 10-Year-Old Boy

A California woman and her boyfriend were convicted Tuesday of torturing and killing her her 10-year-old son.

Anthony Avalos died on June 21, 2018, after he was beaten, tortured, and starved for days, sometimes with his siblings forced to participate in the torment, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

The torture included slamming the boy onto the bedroom floor, whipping him with a belt and cord, pouring hot sauce into his mouth, and forbidding him to use the bathroom, according to court documents filed with the arrest of Heather Barron, 33, and Kareem Leiva, 37, for first degree murder and torture. The boy was malnourished, dehydrated, and had severe head trauma, according to an autopsy.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta, who handed down the verdict after reviewing evidence for two weeks, said that Barron and Leiva “derived pleasure from seeing Anthony suffer,” according to KTTV. Barron and Leiva opted to have their case heard by a judge instead of a jury, the Los Angeles Times said.

Prosecutors said during the trial that Barron had abused Anthony and two of his siblings for years, but the abuse took a deadly turn when she started dating Leiva, an alleged gang member. On occasion, the prosecutors said, Lieva forced the siblings to fight each other and physically punished the losers.

They were also forced to kneel for hours at a time on nails or uncooked rice or hold a squatted position until they fell over.

Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami told the judge that Anthony was left lying on the floor for two days — after two weeks of abuse — beforer Barron called 911. She initially told medics that Anthony hurt himself, but two of his siblings testified that Leiva dropped the child on his head repeatedly.

The case brought a harsh light on the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. The department received 13 reports about abuse heaped upon Anthony between 2013 and 2017. The reports came from teachers, counselors, police, and relatives. The children remained in the home with their abusers, however, until Anthony’s death, when seven children were finally moved into the foster care system.

Leiva and Barron face a maximum sentence of life without parole.

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[Featured image: Anthony Avalos/Facebook]