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Man beat girlfriend’s toddler to death, leaving boy with injuries ‘similar to what would be seen in a car collision victim’

Izzac Murillo (Tulare County Sheriff's Office)

Izzac Murillo (Tulare County Sheriff’s Office)

A 29-year-old man in California may spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, beating the child so severely with brass knuckles that doctors compared his injuries to a violent car wreck. A Tulare County Superior Court judge last week handed down a sentence of 54 years to life in a state penitentiary to Izzac Murillo for the 2015 assault and murder of the toddler.

Murillo pleaded no contest in April to charges of first-degree murder, assault on a child causing death, domestic violence, false imprisonment by violence, and possession of metal knuckles.

According to a press release from the county prosecutor’s office, the incident occurred in the early hours of July 24, 2015, when officers from the Porterville Police Department responded to a residence following a call regarding an unconscious toddler.

Once there, first responders found a 2-year-old boy unresponsive and not breathing. The child was rushed to a hospital, where he died.

Prosecutors say the toddler had a distended abdomen and genital area, suggesting internal injuries. Additionally, the child had bruises on the head, face, and chin and abrasions on his lips and gums, consistent with being struck in the face.

Doctors told investigators the victim suffered severe internal bleeding caused by lacerations and “the complete severing of the victim’s bowel.” The child also had bruising and swelling on the genitals.

Doctors said the child’s injuries were “similar to what would be seen in a car collision victim whose abdomen had impacted the steering wheel violently.”

While medical personnel provided care to the child, officers spoke with the victim’s mother, 29-year-old Adriana Vasquez. Vasquez, who had bruises on her face and left eye, said Murillo was violent and was frequently physically abusive, restraining her against her will with rope in the bedroom. When officers confronted Murillo about the injuries to Vasquez and the child, he “profanely and emotionally responded that he was not responsible,” prosecutors wrote.

Detectives said they recovered rope and brass knuckles from inside Murillo’s bedroom.

Vasquez was a methamphetamine user and had two other young children consistently exposed to Murillo’s violent outbursts. She was arrested for endangering her children by using methamphetamine while they were under her care.

Vasquez pleaded no contest in April 2016 to child abuse likely to cause great bodily injury or death and two additional counts of child abuse. She received an eight-year prison sentence in May 2018.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.