CAMP VERDE -- An 11-year-old murder case involving an infant’s death in 2008 may finally have closure Tuesday.
Julio Cesar Garcia-Soto pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Dec. 11. His sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Yavapai County Superior Court in Camp Verde. He is facing a maximum of life in prison, according to court documents. Judge Christopher Kottke is presiding over the case.
Garcia-Soto, 38, was arrested in February, 2008 on a first-degree murder charge and two counts of child abuse in the death of his 3-month-old son.
He was initially facing the death penalty.
Three weeks before his arrest, Sedona firefighters were called to an apartment in the Village of Oak Creek. 3-month-old Edwin Alejandro Garcia was not breathing, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. His mother, then 21-year-old Gladis Yamileth Rodriguez Paz, was at work when police were called. Garcia-Soto was the only adult in the apartment.
The baby later died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. The hospital reported “highly suspicious injuries” including a broken arm, several broken ribs, fractured pelvis and a fractured skull with associated brain trauma.
Garcia-Soto was arrested for providing false information and for having two felony warrants issued by Maricopa County on suspicion of assault and kidnapping.
Child Protective Services were also called to the couple’s home that night and took two of their children. CPS reported that the two other children showed signs of “chronic neglect.”
Rodriguez-Paz pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse in 2008 and was sentenced to a year in prison.
Garcia-Soto’s case saw multiple delays over the last decade. For years, his legal team argued that they could not properly investigate his personal background as it was too dangerous to travel to Cuidad Juarez in Mexico to do required evidence research.
One attorney quit the case subsequently leading to new representation. The defense also pushed allegations of judicial misconduct leading to several judge reassignments.
Presiding Judge David Mackey re-assigned the case to Judge Michael Bluff May 1, 2017, after nine years of court proceedings with various judges. In May 2018, Garcia-Soto was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He has since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. If he is not given a life-sentence, Garcia-Soto faces a presumptive sentence of 20 years, a maximum of 27 and a minimum of 13 years.
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