AUSTIN (AP) — A Central Texas man was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2016 fatal beating of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter while the woman was at work.
Stephen Cortez Jr. was convicted Monday of capital murder. Prosecutors in Austin did not seek the death penalty in the October 2016 death of Juleanna Arevalo-Chavez. The 29-year-old Cortez received an automatic life prison term.
Prosecutors say Cortez, during the six months he dated the girl’s mother, hit the child and stuffed her into a nightstand drawer. Investigators say Cortez doused the toddler with water and forced her to stand in front of an air conditioner long enough to develop hypothermia.
Investigators who analyzed the man’s cell phone determined Cortez searched for information on how to hide bruises.