Friday, February 8, 2013

Dad convicted in death of 4-month-old daughter (Las Cruces, New Mexico)

I remember reading about this case years ago. Clueless "caret taking" father who kept the baby in a clothes basket in the closet. She eventually died from suffocation. All while Mom was at work to support his clueless @$$.

Dad is identified as ROBERT FLORES.

Cruces Dad Convicted In Baby’s Death

By Scott Sandlin / Journal Staff Writer on Fri, Feb 8, 2013

An Albuquerque jury hearing a Las Cruces child abuse case Thursday convicted the father of a 4-month-old girl who died while in his care of negligent child abuse and tampering with evidence.

Robert Flores, 28, was taken into custody immediately on the order of District Judge Fernando Macías, who ordered a presentence report.

Assistant District Attorney Jacinto Palomino argued that Flores should be denied bond entirely because he faces an 18-year mandatory sentence on the child abuse count. Flores’ attorney Mark Pickett suggested that bond should remain at the $50,000 figure set following the child’s death in 2007, noting his client has complied with all his conditions of release in the interim.

Macías decided to increase the bond to $100,000, so Flores will remain in custody until the amount is posted.

Flores was home alone with his infant child while his girlfriend was at work. He put the child in a laundry basket of dirty clothes in a dark closet, according to trial testimony, though the prosecution said it was so neighbors wouldn’t hear her cry and the defense contended it was so she would be comfortable. The child died of asphyxiation.

Pickett declined comment after the verdict.

Palomino said after the verdict that Flores gave a statement to police in which he said that, even after finding the child unresponsive, he put her on the bed for an hour, telling police, “I hoped she’d wake up.” 

Police were called to the residence when the mother returned from work at 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 6, 2007, and found her daughter Kalynne dead.

The case took five years to get to trial in part because the prosecution took a pre-trial appeal of Macías’ ruling excluding certain evidence — namely that Flores had left the home about 10:45 p.m. to purchase beer and cigarettes. Though Macías found that evidence unduly prejudicial, he said prosecutors could present Flores’ statements that he had been drinking and the alcohol containers that were found at the scene.

The Court of Appeals upheld Macías last April.

“We recognize that the jury may never learn defendant’s specific purpose in leaving the residence,” the court said in its opinion, "(but) it seems unlikely that a jury would reasonably infer that (Flores’) reason for leaving his infant daughter was justified.”

The tampering with evidence charge related to Flores pouring out a glass of beer before police arrived. 

A sentencing date has not been set.