On Thursday, a Maryland man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges after he was arrested for beating his girlfriend’s son 9-year-old son to death because of a piece of birthday cake. Allegedly, the boy ate the piece of cake without permission and was punished so severely that the judge who sentenced the man to 30 years in prison compared the treatment of the boy to torture.
The 30-year prison sentence that Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long handed to 31-year-old Robert Leroy Wilson for his role in the death of the young boy was the maximum sentence the state of Maryland can issue for cases of second-degree murder.
During his hearing, Wilson gave a tearful account of how the stresses in his life had led to him beating the 9-year-old boy. His defense attorney argued that he had also been abused as a child, but the prosecutor put forth that none of that was an excuse for his actions. If Jack as stealing food, it would seem logical that it was because the boy was hungry.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 1, 2016
Jack Kirby Garcia, 9, had not been living an ideal life even prior to being beaten to death over a piece of cake. The police investigation into the crime revealed that Garcia had practically been a prisoner in the Hagerstown apartment he shared with his uncle, Jacob Barajas, his mother, Oriana Garcia, and her fiance, Robert Wilson. Jack was routinely denied access to food if Wilson determined that he had not exerted enough effort at any particular task. The young boy would also be handcuffed to a chair and beaten with bamboo if he ever tried to take food without permission.
According to the Sky News, when the evidence of Jack Garcia’s torturous life was presented in court, Judge Long could not help but be saddened.
“What a bleak existence this little person had.”
The day Garcia died was July 5, 2015, when he succumbed to his injuries at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. While Wilson accepted responsibility for the injuries the 9-year-old had suffered, he denied that he was the one who delivered the blow that caused the head injury which ultimately caused Jack’s death. In return for his guilty plea and the revelation of the involvement Jack Garcia’s family members also had in his beating, prosecutors dropped seven other charges of child abuse, assault, neglect, and reckless endangerment, which may have led to more than 30 years in prison.
On the day he was beaten to death, Jack’s mother had been at work while he was left with her fiancée and brother. The slice of cake Jack snuck that day came from a birthday cake Wilson had been for his 2-year-old daughter. When he learned of Jack’s actions, Wilson and Barajas handcuffed him to a bicycle lock attached to a chair, and a visiting 10-year-old told police of how she heard Wilson screaming for Jack to “cough up the cake” while the boy cried repeatedly, “No! Please stop!” Court documents showed that Jacob Barajas witnessed the boy being beaten and punched in the stomach numerous times before eventually falling to the floor unresponsive.
Oriana Garcia is also being charged because upon her return home, she discovered the scene and decided to accept Wilson’s apology and helped cover the severe child abuse. Your 4 State reported that Barajas had called emergency services four hours before Jack Garcia’s death, but his 26-year-old mother had turned them away, telling the paramedics her son was just congested and did not need their services. It was not until Jack Garcia stopped breathing that they called for help again.
The medical examination of the boy’s body revealed several other injuries in various stages of healing, which prompted a child abuse investigation. Oriana Garcia and her brother, Jacob Barajas, have not entered a plea and are set to face trial for the second-degree murder charges on May 17. They may get the same or more than 30 years in prison.
[Photo by Hagerstown Department of Police/AP Images]