A northern Indiana man has been sentenced to 100 years in prison for beating his 4-year-old stepson to death.
An Elkhart County judge sentenced Christian Maradiaga, 20, of Elkhart on Thursday for the June 2021 death of Romeo Pineda Durán. A jury had convicted Maradiaga in September of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and interference with reporting a crime.
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Maradiaga claimed that her stepson fell in the shower and hit his head before later dying of his injuries at a hospital. But coroners and witnesses testified during his trial that evidence showed the boy was beaten so severely that he was brain dead, The Goshen News reported.
Prosecutors said Maradiaga’s biological son was also present when Romeo was fatally struck.
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Romeo’s aunt, Jennifer Durán Hernández, testified during Thursday’s sentencing, saying that “the day we were able to say goodbye to my nephew was the most difficult day of my life.”