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Illinois mother, Crystal Valdez, is sentenced to 35 years in prison for fatally beating her son on his fourth birthday

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Cruel mother is sentenced to 35 years in prison for fatally beating her son on his fourth birthday in Cook County, Illinois
Crystal Valdez, was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years for killing son in 2011
36-year-old Valdez was found guilty of murdering her son, Christopher, last September 
The four-year-old was found dead on his birthday by his aunt and uncle, a month after he left their home, moving back to live in his mother’s house
Christopher Valdez had been living for the past year with Joseph and Katrina Valdez, his uncle and aunt following a CPS order warranted vy Crystal’s past gross abuse of the child
At sentencing, her brother Joseph, called Crystal a ‘monster’
Defense highlighted records showing that Valdez was diagnosed with a disability and a low IQ, which the court however set aside in reaching the decision
Defense argued that because of her limitations, she was not capable of murder, while witnesses testified to the mother’s past history of persistently inflicting severe abuse on the victim
Her live-in boyfriend, Cesar Ruiz, was convicted of Christopher’s murder in 2013 and sentenced to 75 years in prison

Crystal Valdez 1.pngIllinois mother, Crystal Valdez, [photo, right], was sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years for beating her four-year-old son, Christopher, to death on his birthday in 2011

Valdez, 35, was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of her son, Christopher, in September 2017.
Christopher’s body was discovered by his aunt and uncle on November 25, 2011, the day after Thanksgiving and what was his fourth birthday.
Valdez was sentenced on Wednesday at a nearly six-hour hearing during which her brother called her a ‘monster’.
‘You don’t deserve the title of mother,’ Joseph Valdez, who found the boy’s body along with his wife, told his sister. ‘You’re a monster.’ In direct contrast to their father Thomas Valdez, who maintains his daughter is innocent despite the mountain of evidence.
After the sentencing Thomas Valdez then went on to say that he believes his daughter’s boyfriend Cesar Ruiz is to blame for the murder.
According to the Chicago Tribune, at one point Valdez wiped away tears with a tissue as her lawyers read letters from her three other children about how much they loved and missed her.
‘I miss my family, I miss Christopher, too,’ she said. ‘… Whatever happens today happens,’ she said during the hearing.
In September 2017, it was revealed that a neighbor contacted the boy’s family.
Katrine Valdez testified last year that she and her husband, Joseph, went to go check on their nephew.

Crystal Valdez and Christopher valdez 2.png‘Monster mom’ Crystal Valdez [left] seen with Christopher [right], was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of her four-year-old son in September 2017.

Christopher’s body was discovered by his aunt and uncle on November 25, 2011, the day after Thanksgiving and what was his fourth birthday. She was sentenced on Wednesday at a nearly six-hour hearing during which her brother called her a ‘monster’

She said they pushed back Christopher’s mother and found the boy’s body, covered in bruises and wrapped in a blanket in the bedroom.
‘I pulled it, the cover flipped over, and Christopher was lying there on his side, his eyes open,’ Katrine said in her testimony.
‘I laid him on his back…And I said, “What did you do? What did you do?”‘
While no evidence was presented about Crystal Valdez’s specific role in Christopher’s fatal beating, witnesses said she had admitted months before his death to hitting the boy.

Crystal Valdez's home 1.pngCrime scene: Crystal Valdez have both been convicted in the death of 4-year-old Christopher who was killed in this home where the pair lived

Prosecutors stated that in a 911 call after the boy’s body was found, Valdez could be heard in the background screaming: ‘I killed him, my Christopher.’
Court records showed that Valdez was diagnosed with an intellectual disability and had a low IQ said to be in the 50s.

Katrina Valdez 1.jpgThe pain “never goes away”: The child’s aunt, Katrine Valdez, [photo], told the court last year that she and her husband, Joseph, found the boy’s body covered in bruises and wrapped in a blanket in the bedroom of his mother’s house a month after he left their home and moved back in with his mother
Christopher Valdez crime scene photo 2.pngCrime scene photo: Christopher’s uncle and his wife found his body, covered in bruises and wrapped in a blanket in the bedroom at the mother’s home

Katrine said they pushed back Christopher’s mother and found the boy’s body, covered in bruises and wrapped in a blanket in the bedroom.

Although first agreeing to hear testimony about her IQ, Judge Stanley Sacks reversed his decision and blocked the defense from calling an expert to testify about her mental capacity.
Throughout the case, the defense had hinted at her limitations multiple times with witnesses saying she needed significant help accomplishing day-to-day activities.
It was Valdez’s live-in boyfriend, Cesar Ruiz, who beat the boy to death, defense attorneys said.
‘Crystal did not recognize that these were life-threatening injuries,’ Assistant Public Defender Brett Balmer said last year. Cesar Ruiz 1.png
‘Crystal relied on others for help and for guidance. No one told her what to do.’
But prosecutors disagreed, saying Valdez could perform several normal function and should have known to call for help.
‘No one told her that she should call 911?’ Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Allen asked jurors mockingly.  ‘A woman that could cook a turkey, keep a clean house?…You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar.’
The victim’s mother at the time was  living with her 41-year-old boyfriend, Cesar Ruiz [photo, left].
Ruiz was convicted of Christopher’s murder in 2013 and sentenced to 75 years in prison. At his trial, he said it was Crystal Valdez who was responsible for the deadly blows and that he had used makeup to conceal Christopher’s bruises but did not know how the boy came to be beaten.
After the sentencing on Wednesday, Valdez was allowed to visit with her children separately.
Valdez’s father, Thomas, and his wife have custody of his daughter’s three other children. Thomas Valdez still believes his daughter is completely innocent.
‘She did nothing wrong,’’ Valdez told the Tribune about his daughter. ‘She’s innocent in my eyes’’ while he pinned the murder on Ruiz.
But just as Thomas Valdez tried to paint a portrait of his blameless daughter, witnesses testified, throughout the trial, about red-flags leading up to Christopher’s death.
The court heard that at a baby shower, family members noticed Christopher had a black eye that had crudely been covered with makeup. A neighbor said she had seen Valdez, a mother of four, strike her son’s face.
Valdez’s brother and sister-in-law testified at trial in September they had gone to check on Christopher after a neighbor of the boy’s family called, worried about him. After pushing their way past Valdez into the tiny coach house, they spotted the boy’s body covered in bruises and wrapped in a blanket.

Christopher Valdez and Crystal Valdez 3.jpgMother-of-four Crystal Valdez had a history of abusing seen with Christopher [left] who died within weeks of moving in back with her, after being cleared of a previous CPS charge

On Thanksgiving 2011, the day before the boy was found dead, Valdez lifted up Christopher’s shirt to show his torso covered in bruises, according to testimony.
An incident that previous summer sent Christopher to the hospital with an enormous bump on his head and bruises all over his body. Valdez insisted to a nurse those were mosquito bites.
After that incident, less than five months before Christopher’s death, Valdez admitted to a police detective that she had hit the boy. She was convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery that fall.
Despite that conviction, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services concluded that allegations of abuse against Christopher were “unfounded.” Valdez ultimately avoided jail time, and Christopher was allowed to live with her. About a month after Valdez was convicted, Christopher was killed.For the victim;s aunt, Katrine Valdez, “The pain “never goes away.”
“They say time heals. I can say that is not true.”
Katrina discovered the body with her husband, said Christopher’s violent death continues to affect her own family. Christopher had lived with them for about a year and grown close to her eight children, one of whom is Christopher’s age and reminds her of how much Christopher will miss.“This year would have been his 11th birthday,” she said. ”

 

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