A Castroville man pleaded guilty Tuesday to the charge of second-degree murder of 2-year-old Pricilla Hernandez in 2011, according to the district attorney’s office. Shortly after 1 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2011, Monterey County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call from David Leonardo in the 11400 block of McDougal Street reporting that a child was not breathing, according to Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo.
Deputies arrived at the residence and found 2-year-old Pricilla not breathing. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She was taken to the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital for further investigation, where injuries were found that suggested child abuse, according to the district attorney’s office. Investigators noticed suspicious circumstances and initiated a criminal investigation, Flippo said.
Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies found evidence of abuse in their investigation and Leonardo, 28, was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and child endangerment, according to the district attorney’s office. Leonardo confessed to hitting Pricilla in her abdomen out of anger. There was no evidence of continuous or ongoing child abuse, according to Flippo. According to the district attorney’s office, Leonardo will be sentenced on Feb. 20, 2014 and I expected to receive a sentence of 15 years to life in the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
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