On Tuesday, Gerardo Chavarria, 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and two counts of criminal mistreatment in the beating death of his girlfriend's 4-year-old son, Sebastian Iturbe. The little boy died on Nov. 6, 2011, a day after suffering the brutal beating.
Chavarria's trial was set to begin in two weeks, when he would have been facing a murder charge, and if convicted, he would have quite possibly spent the rest of his life behind bars.
Instead, Marion County Presiding Judge James Rhoades sentenced him to 25 years in prison, and he will be turned over to federal authorities for deportation upon his release.
Chavarria initially told police that Sebastian fell and hit his head outside, and then changed his story, claiming that the little boy fell down the stairs.
The Statesman Journal reported the events inside the courtroom:
The day this happened I had just gotten up. I was drinking beer, watching TV with Sebastian, Chavarria said. He did something, I don't remember what, that knocked over the bottle of beer. For whatever reason I got angry, and I hit his head against the floor.
The gasps of Sebastian's mother, Erika Iturbe, and her parents rang out in an otherwise quiet courtroom as Chavarria said he pounded the boy’s head against the floor with his hands. Sebastian then became quiet, he said, and he put the boy to bed.
I got nervous. I didn’t know what to do, Chavarria said.
Eventually, Chavarria took the child to Salem Hospital, but his injuries were so severe, he was transferred to Oregon Health and Science University where he died the next day.
Chavarria initially told Keizer police detectives that Sebastian fell and hit his head outside and then changed his story, claiming that the little boy fell down the stairs.
Before deputies escorted Chavarria from the courtroom, Judge Rhoades said: "Twenty-five years may not be enough, but it is what the court will impose."