SALINAS, Calif. (KION) A man accused of abusing his 6-month-old child to the point of death was found guilty by a jury.
The man, 27-year-old Hector Aguero Jr., was found guilty of child abuse likely to result in great bodily injury, with an enhancement for personally inflicting great bodily injury on a child; child abuse likely to result in great bodily injury causing the death of a child and second degree murder.
On Aug. 7 2018, the child's mother left their son, 6-month-old Hector Aguero III, with his father, but two hours later, Aguero called 911 to report that the baby was not conscious or breathing.
The baby was taken to Natividad where staff said they saw signs of trauma that were severe and not the result of an accident. They said the baby had severe bruising on his buttocks and thighs that darkened and spread as time passed, and a CT scan showed a scull fracture, brain injury from lack of oxygen and internal brain bleeding. Staff also found older brain injuries that had healed.
Staff members were able to stabilize the baby, but they believed he may already be brain dead. He was flown to Stanford, where medical staff confirmed the injuries and lack of brain activity.
The next day, a pediatric ophthalmologist found severe retinal injuries, which showed that he had been violently shaken. An expert believed the injuries were so severe that the baby would have died within a few minutes to hours.
Baby Hector was officially declared dead as a result of his injuries on Aug. 11. During an autopsy, medical staff performed an autopsy and found multiple skull fractures to the back of his head, including two at the base of his skull. The injuries are believed to be consistent with trauma that was intentionally carried out at least two different times.
During investigations that followed, police said they found that Aguero had a history of domestic violence against the baby's mother, and there was documentation of several incidents of the baby having unexplained injuries while in Aguero's care.
When he was questioned, Aguero said he did not intentionally hurt the baby, but dropped him once while spanking him.
The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said that every medical expert that testified at the trial said they believed the injuries were not accidental and among the most severe they had seen inflicted on a baby.
Aguero is facing as much as 36 years to life in prison.