Posted on October 11, 2013 at 5:16 PM
Friday, Oct 11 at 5:45 PM
AUSTIN -- A man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for the death of his two-year-old nephew.
A Travis County jury issued a guilty verdict Thursday in the capital murder trial of Mark Paniagua, 25.
After deliberating for about five hours, the jury found Paniagua guilty of murder with a deadly weapon in the death of two-year-old Carlos De La Rosa.
The incident happened at an apartment in Central East Austin in November 2010. Investigators say Paniagua threw the young boy onto an infant mattress while babysitting the child. The impact killed him.
Police say Paniagua called 911. He told them his nephew stopped breathing, had no pulse and began turning blue.
Paramedics rushed the child to Dell Children’s Hospital. Doctors discovered significant brain injuries. According to court documents, Paniagua initially told police the two-year-old fell from a sitting position and hit his head on the ground. Doctors say the toddler’s injuries did not match the type of fall.
Detectives say Paniagua later admitted to growing frustrated with the child. He said the child kept crying and asking to play outside. Court documents say Paniagua “lost his temper and grabbed (the child) and forcefully threw him down in the direction of an infant mattress which was lying on the ground in the corner of a bedroom.”
The two-year-old died the next day at the hospital from his injuries.
According to KVUE's news partner the Austin-American Statesman, Paniagua has prior arrests for drug possession, theft and assault. He has been incarcerated since his arrest and is also facing felony charges of injury to a child and murder.
The Statesman reports Paniagua had initially been charged with capital murder and had he been convicted, he would have automatically received a sentence of life in prison without parole. He is now looking at punishment of up to life in prison.