AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Travis County jury found Mark Paniagua guilty Thursday of murdering his 2-year-old nephew in November 2010.
25-year-old Paniagua was charged with violently throwing Carlos de la Rosa into a dark room, causing injuries that eventually lead to the 2-year-old's death.
The punishment phase of the trial will continue Friday at 10:30 a.m.
In closing arguments Thursday morning, prosecutors argued the medical evidence. Detectives took Paniagua's statement as proof that he was responsible for the toddler's death.
Prosecutors quoted Paniagua telling detectives he knew better than to do that in front of his children.
"He got mad. He picked that little boy up and as he's walking back to the bedroom in that apartment, he's shaking him and he's shaking him," Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Sylestine said. "And maybe punches him in the head and then violently throws him into the room, then slams the door. Does that make more sense? That seems like something I wouldn't want my kids to see."
The defense argued that since no one knows exactly how de la Rosa died, there is enough reasonable doubt not to blame Paniagua.
The defense instead tried to pin the blame on de la Rosa's mother. They said she was often neglectful and could not explain how the two-year-old suffered a broken clavicle or "swallowed" baby oil.
"I think she's angry. I think she maybe did something to that child. Maybe he was playing with the baby oil and maybe she got angry and shoved it down his throat," defense lawyer Brad Urrutia said. "He got sick, really sick. I don't know. All I do know is that she can't explain it- not with any terms that make sense."
Prosecutors responded by saying the defense was using the mom as a "smokescreen" to distract the jury from the main focus. No criminal charges have been filed against the mother.
Paniagua did not testify in court. If convicted, Paniagua will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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