A California man is facing 25 years to life in prison for crushing a 1-year-old girl to death with his foot as he watched television.
Daniel Ruiz, 25, was found guilty of one count of second-degree murder and one count of assault on a child causing death, according to a press release from the San Bernardino County District Attorney. He faces 25 years to life in prison.
Ruiz, of Hesperia, was asked to babysit two children in August 2013, while his girlfriend Terra and her friend Andrea went to the store. The children belonged to Andrea.
Speaking to police following the incident, Ruiz said he felt “taken advantage of” by the two women when they asked him to watch the children, according to prosecutor and Lead Deputy District Attorney Kathleen DiDonato.
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While babysitting the children, Ruiz put his foot on 1-year-old Scarlett's chest and pushed down as hard as he could with his 230 pounds of weight, according to DiDonato. As the baby lay on the ground, gasping for air, Ruiz got up and turned on the television.
After flipping through channels for several minutes, Ruiz noticed Scarlett appeared to be having a seizure. He reportedly tapped her on the cheek to get her to wake up.
The two women returned home soon after, and Ruiz ran outside to tell Andrea that Scarlett needed to go to the hospital. The women were gone for about 30 to 45 minutes.
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Andrea was unable to contact 911, so she grabbed Scarlett herself and ran directly to the fire station across the street. She was then taken to a nearby hospital.
Firemen and hospital workers were unable to revive Scarlett. She died in the hospital soon after. The cause of her death was discovered in an autopsy two days later.
Ruiz didn’t initially admit to stepping on the baby, instead saying that he didn’t know what happened other than the fact that she had a seizure. He later admitted to intentionally crushing Scarlett because he felt Andrea and Terra had "taken advantage" of him.
“The defendant stated that he actually felt better after stepping on the victim, as he sat there watching television,” DiDonato said in the district attorney's press release. “The whole time, Scarlett was behind him, lying on the floor trying to catch her breath. Fighting for her life.”
According to statistics from the CDC, 4,068 children ages 1-4 died in 2013. Assault (homicide) was one of the three leading causes of death, as well as accidents (unintentional injuries) and congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities.