EL CAJON (CNS) - A man who pleaded guilty to felony child abuse in the death of his girlfriend's 8-month-old daughter in Ramona was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years and four months in state prison.
David Humberto Ortiz, 21, pleaded guilty last month in the July 2012 death of Liliana Velasquez. A jury had acquitted Ortiz on a charge of second-degree murder and deadlocked on assault and involuntary manslaughter counts.
"You put me through hell and back," the victim's mother, Laura Velasquez, told the defendant in a letter read by prosecutor Fiona Khalil. "I lost half of my heart. You have no idea how much you hurt me."
Paramedics were called to the couple's home in the 2600 block of Southern Oak Road shortly before 11:30 a.m. on July 4, 2012, according to Cal Fire. Paramedics took Liliana to Rady Children's Hospital, where she died two days later.
The cause of death was listed as traumatic injury to the head. The victim also had a broken leg, Khalil said.
Ortiz initially claimed that Liliana had fallen off a couch but later admitted to shaking her so hard that "her head bobbed," according to the prosecution. The motive was unclear.
At Ortiz's arraignment, Khalil said Ortiz did not seek immediate help when the child was injured and drove past a sheriff's substation in Ramona while taking the baby to his mother.
The defendant's mother said her son was panicked when he arrived at her home with the injured infant.
The defendant's uncle said his nephew was not the victim's biological father but was engaged to the child's mother and loved the baby like she was his own.
In handing down the stipulated sentence, Judge Allan Preckel said the case was a "tragedy" from every perspective.
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