Jury Finds Lopez Guilty of Toddler’s Murder

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Polk County jury has found a Clive man guilty of killing his girlfriend's toddler.

The Des Moines Register reports the jury found Joe Lopez guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death.

This was the second trial in the case for Lopez. He will be given the mandatory sentence, life in prison.

Prosecutors say Lopez squeezed and shook a 20-month-old Ruby Alvarez to death back in 2014. He claims she fell from a highchair while he was using the restroom.

Lopez first went on trial earlier this year but the judge declared a mistrial after something his former girlfriend, the toddler’s mother, said on the stand. She testified Lopez had forced her to have sex during their relationship.

The judge ruled the statement was too prejudicial and ordered a new trial.

For weeks now, a new set of jurors has been hearing new testimony from both sides -- covering everything from Lopez's reaction to the incident to analysis of the girl's severe injuries.

Multiple doctors said her fractured skull and rib injuries did not match up with falling from a high chair. The medical examiner who performed an autopsy also reported seeing signs of abuse.

Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday afternoon, leaving jurors to deliberate.

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