Couple who killed 10-year-old boy by repeatedly beating him with a belt and pouring hot sauce on his face could get death penalty
A woman and her boyfriend from California could possibly face death penalty after being convicted of torturing the woman's 10-year-old son and killing him in the process, according to reports. The child was repeatedly whipped on the bottom of his feet with a belt, body-slammed, and even forced to kneel on rice, according to authorities.
The couple, identified as 29-year-old Heather Barron and 32-year-old Kareem Leiva, pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges against them, including murder involving the infliction of torture. The child, Anthony Avalos, reportedly died on June 2, a week after incessant torture allegedly inflicted on him by the duo.
A Lancaster woman and her boyfriend could face the death penalty in the slaying of her 10-year-old son, Anthony Avalos, who authorities allege was whipped, beaten and body-slammed before his death in June https://t.co/yXDcPrt2I8 pic.twitter.com/Hy4ErK6UQ0— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 3, 2018
Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, during the trial, said that Barron and Leiva, in the days leading up to the boy's death, allegedly poured hot sauce on the boy's face, gave him rug burns, and dropped him on his head after dangling him upside down, a report in the Los Angeles Times said.
This just in... Prosecutors in the Anthony Avalos murder case have stepped up the charges against the victim’s mother and boyfriend which could make the upcoming trial a death penalty case. pic.twitter.com/BAGLVhoTco— Leo Stallworth (@abc7leo) October 3, 2018
Further reports state that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services received multiple tips about the boy being abused in the couple's house, however, they continued to allow the boy to remain in their home.
An attorney representing the boy's relatives said that the agency reportedly probed nearly 88 claims of abuse dating back to 2013 and at least two of 15 substantiated claims involved sexual abuse.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department said that shortly after Anthony's death, seven other children, between 11 months and 12 years old, were removed from the home. According to the Times report, in one instance Leiva hit Anthony's younger brother with so much force that the child required medical attention and staples to close a head wound.
Viewing, memorial and funeral service being held today for Anthony Avalos, the 10-year-old boy who was allegedly tortured and murdered by his mother and her boyfriend https://t.co/oG57Vru8GU pic.twitter.com/Vxcr8gAteW— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) July 20, 2018
Reports state that Leiva also hit at least three other siblings with a hose, hurled dirty diapers at them and made them squat against a wall for long periods of time.
Both Barron and Leiva are scheduled to return to court for another hearing on November 27, according to reports.