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‘I am not taking responsibility’: Woman convicted of murdering boyfriend with hammer is defiant during sentencing


Screengrab via KFSN. Inset: Rosa Baca (via Tulare County (Calif.) District Attorney’s Office).

Rosa Baca, a California woman who was convicted of first-degree murder for brutally beating and torturing her boyfriend to death with a hammer in 2018 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole on Monday.

Appearing in a Tulare County courtroom for her sentencing hearing in a bright orange prison-issued jumpsuit, glasses and with her long black hair swept to the side, Baca, 55, remained defiant even after family members of her victim, Jose Salud Magaña, 38, graphically recounted the trauma of losing their loved one.

Magaña’s young niece burst into tears, ABC30 reported Monday, telling Baca — who stood just across the courtroom from her — that even two years after her uncle’s death, “all I can think about is my uncle not being here with me.”

“At family gatherings, all I think about is him not being with us. I have difficulty talking about it because all I want to do is cry,” Magaña’s niece, identified only as Ms. Ambriz, said on Monday as she delivered her highly emotional victim impact statement to the court.

Another relative, Maria Cabral addressed Baca succinctly.

“At least you are still alive. But he is not. You do not know the pain and sorrow that you have caused,” she said.

The victim’s cousin, Jesse Ambriz, was highly emotional too, recounting the man Magaña once was, calling him a “happy hard-working and compassionate person … who didn’t bother anybody.”

Standing to address the victim’s family, Baca’s voice did not waver as she said: “I am really sorry but I am not taking responsibility for this case.”

In 2018, the Porterville Police Department reported that officers responded to a possible assault at Magaña’s home and when they arrived there, found Magaña’s body badly injured with blunt force trauma all over. Baca initially told police that she and Magaña — then her boyfriend of 16 months — had been fighting the previous evening. Baca told authorities he took off in the middle of the night only to return that morning around 8:30 a.m. without his shoes and suffering from apparent injuries.

Magaña was found shoeless, police reported, but there were no other signs of struggle and Magaña’s feet were clean. Though Baca said she hadn’t left their apartment, detectives noticed her car was warm to the touch as if it had been running. A search warrant was eventually issued and in short order, Baca began to talk to police. According to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, Baca admitted to kicking Magaña, beating him with a hammer and then driving their bloodied clothes to a nearby dumpster. Baca left her boyfriend brutalized in bed for several hours, never seeking medical assistance. Surveillance footage from the dumpster area showed Baca exiting her car to throw something away. Police investigators confirmed it was clothing.

Her attorney has indicated Baca will appeal.

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