A Lompoc man convicted of killing a 2-year-old girl receives his sentence in court. Isabella Cortes died in February of 2008 from severe head injuries.
In April of 2009, Robert Garcia was found guilty of second degree murder, assault on a child causing death, child abuse, and two other drug related charges.
Judge Jed Beebe said he does not know when he will see a more senseless and tragic case. He sentenced Robert Garcia to a total of 71 years to life for his crimes.
2-year-old Isabella Cortes, nicknamed "Bella," will never have a chance to grow up. "He deserves it," said Angel Cortes, Bella's biological father. "He deserves everything he's got."
Cortes says despite the tough sentence, nothing will bring his daughter back.
"I know he's going to be rotting in hell even though he's alive. It's going to be on his conscience at all times," Cortes said.
The deputy district attorney on this case, Megan Baldwin, said Robert Garcia - the former boyfriend of Bella's biological mother - hit Bella repeatedly in the days before her death at her Lompoc home. This was oftentimes as a result of his methamphetamine use
On February 13, 2008, the prosecution said Garcia slammed Bella against the wall so hard, he fractured her skull. She spent 11 days on life support at the UCLA Medical Center and never regained consciousness.
Garcia's attorney, David Bixby, did not speak on camera after the sentencing. However, Bixby said there were other adults in the house at the time and that his client did not do this. Baldwin called that theory absurd.
"This is the worst of the worst. I've prosecuted child abuse cases, but a case where a child's life actually ended through violence from an adult that's meant to care for them, meant to love them, there's nothing worse than that," Baldwin said.
Now, two brothers will grow up without their sister, and the man who a jury said killed her will spend the rest of his life in prison.
"She was a happy baby. She was loveable," Cortes said.
Bella's mother was also convicted in a separate trial for child endangerment. Christana Contreras is out on bail. She will be sentenced later this summer.
Garcia plans to appeal the decision.