A monster has been convicted of the beating-murder of his girlfriend's sister's 18-month-old daughter and abusing another child in a similar way in 2009.
Juan Carlos Aguilar, 27, of Santa Ana, faces up to 31 years to life in state prison at his Oct. 4 sentencing after the jury found him guilty of murder, child abuse and assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death.
Aguilar resided in a Santa Ana apartment with his girlfriend, their 3-year-old daughter, his girlfriend's sister and her 18-month-old daughter, Megan Rodriguez. The morning of July 9, 2011, he was left in Megan's care as her mother went to work at a Newport Beach hotel and his girlfriend and daughter went to the market.
While alone with Megan, Aguilar squeezed her ribcage with his hands and great force. When his girlfriend and the 3-year-old returned to the apartment around 10:30 a.m., Megan was limp and having trouble breathing. The girlfriend wanted to call police, but Aguilar insisted they drive the girl to the hotel where her mother worked.
After picking up the mother, they all drove to Coastal Community Hospital in Santa Ana. Megan, who arrived with shallow breathing and barely any pulse, was pronounced dead 15 minutes later. She'd suffered bruises and lacerations to her body and face and internal injuries to her lungs, liver and brain. Aguilar was arrested for murder.
After the Orange County District Attorney's office brought charges against Aguilar, further investigation revealed he had abused a 2-month-old female relative by squeezing and fracturing her rib cage, similar to the assault of Megan Rodriguez. The 2-month-old survived her injuries.
Aguilar was convicted Monday.