NORTH COUNTY COURTS — The trial of a Guatemalan man accused of torturing and killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old son [in 2005]
began yesterday in Vista Superior Court.
If convicted, Jose Maurice Castenada, 24, could face the death penalty.
Weismantel said Castenada fatally beat the boy in front of Razo and her then-5-year-old daughter. “This child was beaten, kicked, bitten, strangled and whipped at the hands of the defendant,” the prosecutor said.
Weismantel said the family's roommates heard Razo and her daughter crying. When they caught a glimpse of Cesar, they asked if they should call 911, and Castenada told them no, the prosecutor said.
Castenada and Razo eventually took the boy to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido after unsuccessfully trying to revive him, telling the hospital staff that he had fallen from a swing, Weismantel said.
She said staff members were shocked by what they saw, adding: “They had never seen a boy so badly beaten. It brought tears to their eyes.”
Doctors found more than 200 bruises on the child, leading authorities to arrest the couple. An autopsy determined that the toddler had suffered two fatal blows: one that severely injured his internal organs and a second that broke the back of his skull.