SANTA ANA (CBS) —  A 33-year-old Cypress man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life for fatally beating his 2-year-old niece.

Michael David Balderas was found guilty Jan. 25 of second-degree murder and child assault causing death. Balderas did not speak before Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg handed down his punishment.

Jurors initially voted 11-1 for guilt on first-degree murder, then unanimously agreed to find him guilty of the lesser charge.

Nurses and physicians testified that the child suffered anal and vaginal tears and that her DNA was found in a swab taken from Balderas’ penis. Though no sexual assault charges were brought, Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray alleged the defendant “tortured and sexually assaulted the child over a five-hour period.”

Balderas whipped the toddler, Jo Jade, with his belt until she bled to death on March 30, 2006, Murray said.

“His behavior was monstrous and the evidence was overwhelming,” Murray said after the sentencing.

The prosecutor said a motive for the crime was elusive.

“A lot of times (with) murders — as senseless as they are — you can at least determine a motive. But in this case, the motive was the defendant’s sexual interests and uncontrollable anger, which is no motive at all,” Murray said.

“It’s almost unfathomable. The answer is, unsatisfying as it is, he’s just not like everybody else. There’s a part of his humanity that’s missing.”

Balderas’ sister, Mary Hernandez, arranged for her brother to take charge of the girl in October 2005, because she and her husband, Joe, were being sent to federal prison in Texas.

Balderas was also supposed to care for the couple’s two boys, but that arrangement hadn’t been worked out by the time his niece came to live with him and his girlfriend in Cypress in January 2006.

Shannon James testified that she and Balderas had been together for about seven years when they started looking after Jo Jade.

The two differed on how to discipline the girl, and while they agreed not to spank her, Balderas became “very controlling about the potty training,” James testified. Balderas told James to “stay out of it — I was too nice to her,” when it came to discipline, she said.

About 4 p.m. on the day the toddler died, a panic-stricken Balderas called James and asked her to rush home without explaining what happened, the woman said.

When James got home, Balderas had the girl in his arms and the two drove to the hospital while James called 911. While James was on the line with a 911 dispatcher, Balderas told her, “Hang up the phone, I’m going to jail for this,” James testified.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (17)
  1. johnny chingas says:

    Guy has issues.

  2. jujubee1 says:

    Have a good time in prison, buddy – your niece will be looking down and laughing at you! The prison justice system has a special place for worthless pieces of garbage like you.

  3. Good Riddance says:

    Hope he gets same treatment in prison. Hope other prisoners rape this sob to death.

  4. Jose bautista says:

    Man!! This guy is really messed up hope his conscious never let him in peace, but come on what can you expect from a family like that?? The brother a drogi and what about the sister?? Stupid people if your not gonna love your kids don’t bring to this world!!

  5. Miguel says:

    Hope you have alot o lube buddy….they are salavating now in prison or you new fish

  6. s.duplesis says:

    Prison isn’t the answer. The death penalty is the befitting punishment. When they used a shotgun to deliver the death penalty? That is what needs to be done to this
    monster. I would love to be the one to deliver that resolution.

  7. Mother of a 2 year old says:

    You get what you give..and he deserves every beating and assault of every kind for torturing that poor innocent little girl. Hopefully, his prison mates aren’t as gentle as he was and they let him endure what his baby niece did his entire sentence.

  8. salley twoshoes says:

    prison is not as bad as these comments are making it out to be..its not fun but its not hell

    1. Robear says:

      Child rapists/murderers are the lowest of the low in a prison’s pecking order. He’ll get what he deserves. Wouldn’t be surprised if he turned up dead in some broom closet one day, with a few broom handles shoved up his A $ $

  9. steve says:

    All i would need is a blowtorch,a pair of pliers,some wire coat hangers,and about 3 hours.Justice would be served.

    1. Masked Marvel says:

      Unfortunately, we’re living in a country where ther’es more concern for the murderer than the victim….

  10. Masked Marvel says:

    Who was the moron of a juror who held out when the rest of the jury found him guily of first degree murder, 11 to 1?
    Who was this cretin?

  11. CuteTPye2 says:

    This worthless piece of sh.t will certainly get what he deserves when he arrives at the prison doors, in case he does not know, they don’t take kindly to prisoners who molest children, matter of fact, I was told when he wakes up, he will be a girl, and his roommates will never, ever, let him get any rest, or sleep, they are going to f..k him until the sun comes up and until it goes down, I say that, to say this, he is in for a rude awakening.

    God bless that baby, she did not deserve what he did to her. Her mother had to know that her brother had issues, because we all know what our sisters and brothers are capable of doing, just like a mother knows her child, we as humans, know our siblings as well.

    For the life of me, I will never, ever understand how anyone can harm, molest, beat a baby or a elderly person, it can only be for the thrill of them not being able to fight back. People like this are sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, sick and crazy, they don’t deserve to live in our society, he should have gotten the death penalty, and I don’t even believe in it, but, in this case, he should die for what he did to that innocent child.


    1. Adnrew says:

      I would take it one step further, I don’t know understand how anyone can do physical or emotional harm to another human.

  12. hectorfrom L.A says:

    oh and you better believe that word has gotten to the right people on the inside about this sob….he wont even be safe in protective custody…guaranteed!

  13. Lis says:

    That poor baby girl. I hope he burns in hell when his time comes. I know I shouldn’t judge but a baby? Monster!

  14. Mary says:

    Barbara said it all

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