When first responders arrived at the Los Angeles home where 10-year-old Anthony Avalos had allegedly been tortured and abused for weeks before his death, they found a gaunt child with “sunken eyes” who “looked dead,” they testified Monday during a murder trial against his mom and her boyfriend.
Kareem Ernesto Leiva, a 37-year-old illegal immigrant and MS-13 member, and his American girlfriend Heather Maxine Barron, 33, are both charged with murder and torture in the death of Anthony as well as child abuse against two other children in the home.
Prosecutors allege the boy had been beaten, starved, forced to kneel on rice, force-fed, whipped and more in a home where he was allegedly subjected to “extreme physical pain and suffering” by the time his mother called 911 on June 20, 2018, to report her son was unconscious.
Despite her Anthony’s condition, Barron alleged appeared “kind of calm” when first responders arrived, testified Diane Ravago, a former EMT who is now a paramedic, FOX Los Angeles reported Monday.
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Anthony “looked like a cancer patient,” she continued, and when Deputy District Attorney Saeed Teymouri asked if he appeared to be alive when she arrived on scene, she said “not at all.”
Ronald Watts, a former Los Angeles firefighter who is now retired, also took the stand – reportedly telling the court he was “skeptical” of the parent’s version of events and that the scene still troubled him today.
“His eyes were sunken,” he said. “You could count his ribs. His knees had sores on them. He looked dead.”
Police arrived and found the boy not breathing and covered in bruises and abrasions. He also had circular burn marks on his stomach. After he was transported to a hospital, doctors noted he appeared “severely malnourished and dehydrated.”
The pronounced him dead the next morning.
The former Los Angeles district attorney, Jackie Lacey, had intended to seek the death penalty in the case, but current DA George Gascon, who has publicly opposed such punishment for years, reversed course after taking office.
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Barron and Leiva both face a maximum of life imprisonment without parole if convicted on the murder charges and special circumstances enhancements for torture.
While in jail, Leiva allegedly shanked another inmate, according to court documents, and was accused of domestic violence against females in both 2010 and 2013.
FOX Los Angeles reported in October that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $32 million settlement with the rest of Anthony’s family, which sued, alleging social workers on the case failed to properly handle the accusations. Members include the boy’s father as well as maternal aunts and uncles who are expected to testify against Barron at trial.
Source: Fox News