'Lonely and abandoned': sentencing hearing for man who killed grandson
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, September 24, 2019 4:19AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 24, 2019 9:36PM EDT
CALGARY -- Crown and defence lawyers are suggesting significant prison time for a man convicted of killing his five-year-old grandson, who court heard went from friendly and happy to isolated and abused in the months before his death.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Richard Neufeld found Allan Perdomo Lopez guilty last month of manslaughter.
In sentencing submissions Tuesday, Crown attorney Vicki Faulkner suggested a sentence of 12 to 15 years because Perdomo Lopez has a high level of moral culpability. Defence lawyer Darren Mahoney recommended six to eight years in prison.
Court heard the boy, Emilio Perdomo, was sent to Canada from Mexico in February 2015 so he could have a better life.
But five months after his arrival in Calgary, Emilio was taken to hospital unconscious with a traumatic brain injury. He died eight days later.
"He was a very young, vulnerable little boy. Emilio was completely isolated in the Perdomo home," Faulkner said, adding the boy was kept out of school and cut off from his family in Mexico.
"Emilio must have felt incredibly lonely and abandoned."
The boy's grandmother, with whom he lived before he was sent to Canada, said the loss has been devastating.
"We see colleagues of Emilio growing up and we imagine how his life would have been," wrote Marisol Segovia-Alvarez in her victim impact statement, translated in court by an interpreter. The statement was read aloud in Spanish by her daughter and Emilio's mother, Melody Segovia, at the Canadian embassy in Mexico City and broadcast into the Calgary courtroom.
Segovia-Alvarez described Emilio as a friendly and happy boy who loved music and greeting people on the street.
He told his mother he wanted to buy her a house, she said.
"Time goes by and we feel his absence every time, more and more."
The Crown argued that Emilio was subjected to two months of abuse and submitted photos of scars and bruises all over his body that were in various stages of healing.
During the trial, the Crown played a police recording from the family minivan of Perdomo Lopez tearfully praying in Spanish. An English transcript of the intercept submitted in court said the man was asking for forgiveness and saying he "didn't want to kill that child."
The prayer was one of 11 police recordings from the accused's vehicle, home and phone that were presented as evidence.
The defence had argued the remark was not a confession and that the Crown cherry-picked segments of the recordings to construct its story.
Faulkner said Perdomo Lopez showed little to no remorse, except for the consequences to himself.
"The offender spoke of Emilio and his death as a demon, as something that needed to be cleansed from his home," she said.
"He was a five-year-old boy."
Mahoney told Neufeld that much in the Crown's submissions was a "play to your emotional faculties rather than your reasoning faculties."
He urged the judge to focus on the single blow that caused the boy's death, and noted there was no evidence proving his client was solely responsible for the past abuse. His wife and three daughters also lived in the home at the time.
He pointed to several past cases of "brutal, prolonged, proven violence by the actual offender" that garnered sentences similar to what the Crown's proposed range.
"This is a middle-range case," Mahoney said.
The offender's wife, Carolina Perdomo, was accused initially in the boy's death, but the Crown stayed a manslaughter charge against her earlier this year.
Neufeld's sentencing decision is scheduled for Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2019.