Man Pleads Guilty Over 9-Year-Old Boy Beaten to Death Over Missing Cake

Jacob Barajas, uncle of a 9-year-old who was handcuffed and beaten to death for over a piece of cake, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree abuse Tuesday, NY Daily News is reporting.

The 24-year-old man admitted that he handcuffed 9-year-old Jack Barajas to a chair where he was repeatedly pummeled by his sister’s boyfriend, Robert Wilson. Jacob Barajas shared a home with his sister Oriana Garcia, Robert Wilson, and the boy in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Jacob Barajas faces up to 15 years for his role in the horrifying incident but due to his plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop six other charges against the 24-year-old man, including second-degree murder. A date for his sentencing hearing is yet to be decided.

Jack’s fatal beating was at a party Wilson held for his visiting 2-year-old daughter. A child had revealed to investigators that she heard Wilson shouting “Cough up the cake” and Jack screaming “No! Stop!”

Prosecutors say Jack had endured months of violence at the hands of Robert Wilson after his mom moved to live with him in Maryland, after meeting him online. Authorities say that Wilson consistently denied the 9-year-old boy food, using it as a means of punishment and hid it when the boy complained about being hungry.

According to The Washington Post, the incident took place June 30 last year. Jack’s mother said she was at work on the day of the attack and had left the 9-year-old under the care of her boyfriend and brother.

Jacob Barajas had called 911 after Jack started having difficulties breathing. Police revealed that Jack’s mother, Oriana Garcia got home before the ambulance arrived and turned back paramedics, telling them her son was fine and was just “congested.” Authorities revealed that the 27-year-old woman denied the emergency responders entry into the house and refused a medical examination of her son.

Paramedics left the scene but were called back four hours later when Jack became unconscious. Oriana said she had tried to give him some water and that “he started gurgling when he would take a breath.”

Jack was hospitalized at a hospital with extensive head injuries and bruises all over his body. He died July 5. Oriana told police that her son was injured after her boyfriend; Robert Wilson punched him in the stomach because he “stole again.”

The 27-year-old mother admitted that her boyfriend beat her son repeatedly, hitting him with a piece of hollow bamboo for stealing and lying. Garcia said her boyfriend had also used handcuffs on the 9-year-old “for a few hours at a time in the past” to teach him “what’s going to happen in jail.” Oriana Garcia said her boyfriend was only “trying to teach” Jack not to steal.

Jacob Barajas said Jack “mostly got into trouble for stealing food.” He said that another punishment meted out to the boy was to make him eat what he stole until he became sick of it. He added that all the adults in the house came up with different punishments for the boy who was never enrolled in a school after moving to Maryland.

Robert Wilson was sentenced to 30 years in prison after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors. The 31-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, making prosecutors drop seven charges including assault, neglect, and reckless endangerment against him. Oriana was charged with second degree murder and child abuse, stemming from her denial of medical help for her son.

The Seattle Times reports that Oriana lived in Utah for five years with Daniel Fletcher, a market researcher. Fletcher said Garcia never doled out corporal punishment to her son, preferring time-outs because she was of the opinion that physical punishment could make a child rebellious and aggressive.

Fletcher said they ended the relationship, but they were still living together when Garcia met Wilson online. According to Fletcher, Garcia never met Wilson in person before withdrawing her son from school and boarding a train to Hagerstown, a city with a population of 40,000 people, 70 miles from Baltimore.

Fletcher believes Oriana’s precarious situation of being a single mother, living with a man she no longer loved, put her under pressure and flawed her judgment.

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