Texas executes man who beat baby boy to death

March 29th, 2012 - 10:23 pm ICT by BNO News  

HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS (BNO NEWS) — A Texas man was executed on late Wednesday for using a flashlight to fatally beat a 10-month-old boy whom he was babysitting in Dallas in April 2001, officials said. He is the twelfth person to be executed in the United States so far this year.

Jesse Joe Hernandez, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. local time at Huntsville Unit in Walker County. The execution by lethal injection took place about two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal in which Hernandez’s attorneys argued that the victim would have survived if he had not been taken from life support.

The incident happened in April 2001 when the 11-month-old boy, Karlos Borja, and his 4-year-old sister were left in the care of Hernandez, who was living along with his wife of six years in the same house in Dallas as the two children and their 22-year-old mother who worked as a waitress.

Hernandez and his wife, who had moved in to the house several days earlier, were supposed to watch the children when their mother was at work. When the crime took place on April 11, Hernandez’s wife had left the house to run some errands and was later told by Jesse that the children were sleeping.

Hours later, when the young mother returned from her work, the 4-year-old girl complained her head was hurting as a result of injuries to her face and head and was taken to a hospital by her mother. While the girl was being taken to the hospital, Hernadez’s wife discovered Karlos’ injuries and called paramedics to the house.

Karlos, who had a skull fracture and bruises to his head, thigh and abdomen, died a week after the attack when he was taken off life support. His sister survived the beating with swelling and bruises on her forehead, eyes and behind her ears.

After the boy’s death, his mother lost legal custody of her daughter because prosecutors said she made a mistake by entrusting the care of her children to Hernandez, who had previously been sentenced to three years in prison for one count of indecency with a child and possession of a controlled substance, cocaine.

During the trial, prosecutors described Hernandez, who was linked to the fatal beating through traces of his DNA mixed with the boy’s blood on a pillowcase and a jumper, as a “baby-killing, child-molesting, woman-beating ex-con.” The jury took approximately 90 minutes to decide to sentence him to death in late 2002.

Hernandez had initially denied any role in the brutal attack, but he later admitted that he walked into the children’s room with a flashlight and beat them for ‘crying too much for nothing.’ He said he ‘exploded’ in anger when the children continued to cry, after which he started hitting them.

Hernandez was the fourth person executed in Texas so far this year and the twelfth in the United States. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), Texas has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

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