Baby-Killing Mom Gets 36 Years In Prison

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A Moreno Valley mother who violently abused her 2-month-old son from the time he was born, was sentenced Friday to 36 years to life in prison for murdering him.

Lucero De La Paz Diego, 22, was found guilty in November of second-degree murder, assault on a child resulting in great bodily injury and child endangerment for the Sept. 19, 2008, death of Romero Dixon.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michele Levine handed down the maximum punishment. Levine also fined Diego more than $1,000, most of which will go to the California State Children’s Trust Fund, which supports programs for at-risk families.

According to Deputy District Attorney Elan Zekster, the defendant violently shook her son on repeated occasions, fracturing his ribs in 15 places, breaking his collar bone and causing brain hemorrhaging.

The infant was not breathing when paramedics were called to the woman’s apartment and efforts to revive him failed. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Diego’s boyfriend, 26-year-old Clifford Harrison Dixon, was convicted last April of child endangerment and sentenced to one year in county jail.

“He said he knew his girlfriend had a tendency to (abuse) the baby, and he didn’t approve,” Zekster said, “but he didn’t do anything to stop it.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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