Alberto Solis Guzman Convicted in 4-Year-Old's Death; His Girlfriend Up on Murder of Her Son

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Read update with Guzman's sentence here.

Alberto Solis Guzman has been convicted of assaulting his girlfriend's 4-year-old son with great bodily injury to the child's head resulting in his death, but the 30-year-old's lover faces not only that charge but a murder rap and other felony counts at her trial.

Like Guzman, who is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14, 2011, Gabriela Mariana Morales, 28, of Santa Ana, could receive up to 34 years to life in state prison with a conviction.

Morales' son Brandon lived a nightmarish short life. His 9-year-old brother testified during Guzman's trial that the mother's boyfriend repeatedly hit the younger child with his hands and a belt, and that the couple forced Brandon to sleep on the floor, refused to feed him and made him stand in a corner with his hands above his head for extended periods.

Guzman's conviction was largely based on evidence that showed on April 30, 2008, he repeatedly hit and punched the 4-year-old.

A month to the day later, Morales allegedly caused her pride and joy to fall unconscious from several blows to his head, according to prosecutors.

However, the mother waited several hours before calling 9-1-1, authorities allege.

Paramedics had Brandon rushed to Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange, where he was pronounced dead from blunt-force trauma to the head.

At the time of his arrest, police say, Guzman admitted to having hit Brandon before but claimed that it was never very hard and that Morales murdered her baby.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office statement on Guzman's conviction follows on the next page.
 

November 23, 2010

BOYFRIEND CONVICTED OF ASSAULTING GIRLFRIEND'S 4-YEAR-OLD SON BY CAUSING GREAT BODILY INJURY TO HEAD RESULTING IN CHILD'S DEATH
*Girlfriend charged with murdering her child

SANTA ANA - A boyfriend was convicted yesterday of assaulting his girlfriend's 4-year-old son with great bodily injury to the child's head resulting in his death. Alberto Solis Guzman, 30, was convicted by a jury Nov. 22, 2010, of one felony count each of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, corporal injury on a child, and child abuse. He was acquitted of the murder charge. He faces a maximum sentence of 34 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on Jan. 14, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Guzman's girlfriend and mother of the child, is facing charges for murdering her 4-year-old son by inflicting several blunt force trauma injuries to the child's head in her Santa Ana home. Gabriela Mariana Morales, 28, is charged with one felony count each of murder, assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, child abuse, and a sentencing enhancement for child abuse resulting in death. She faces a maximum sentence of 34 years to life if convicted. Morales is in custody and has a trial setting conference hearing Jan. 21, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Morales and her boyfriend Guzman were living together in Santa Ana with Morales' 4-year-old son Brandon. On April 30, 2008, Guzman is accused of abusing Brandon by punching and hitting the victim.

On May 30, 2008, Morales is accused of assaulting her son, causing several blunt force trauma injuries to the victim's head and rendering Brandon unconscious. Morales is accused of waiting several hours before calling 911. Paramedics arrived and transported the unresponsive victim to the Children's Hospital of Orange County, where he was pronounced dead due to blunt force trauma injuries to his head.

During the trial, Brandon's 9-year-old brother testified that during the months leading up to his little brother's death, the defendant repeatedly hit the baby with his hands and a belt. He also testified that Guzman and Morales forced Brandon to sleep on the floor, refused to feed the boy, and made Brandon stand in the corner with his hands above his head for long periods of time. The defendant's statements given to the police were admitted. Guzman claimed to the police that although he had hit the baby, it was never very hard and the boy's mother, his girlfriend, was the one who murdered the baby.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

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