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Perez found guilty of child's death, prosecutor reacts

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Reymundo Perez and his translator in court
Veronica Isherwood
Reymundo Perez and his translator in court

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Reymundo Perez was found guilty Friday of reckless homicide and child abuse for the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old child.

A Portage County jury of six men and six women decided by mid morning that Perez was responsible for the injuries that caused Felix Espinoza-Villa’s death in 2011.

Prosecutor Veronica Isherwood says this was a difficult case to prepare for, but was ready to show the jury why Perez had to be held responsible.  “I was confident in my case and I was confident in the science that determined the cause of Felix’s death, but you never know what’s going to happen with twelve jurors.”

Isherwood says this trial was very emotional for everyone on both sides of the case.  “And even though I’ve been through it 80 or 90 times, it’s just as emotional each time you wait, but the worst time is between when they say there’s a verdict and the time you actually hear it.”

The jury deliberated Thursday into the evening, and again Friday morning. In the end, Isherwood says justice was done.  “The verdict, I’m satisfied. I think it was the right verdict, but this isn’t a happy ending because nothing can bring that little two-year-old back.”

Defense attorney Gary Schmaus argued that Felix’s mother Beatriz was responsible for the death of the child. Isherwood worked closely with the mother, and also attended several of the investigative events including the child’s autopsy in Madison. She says the defense’s effort to blame the mother was wrong.  “That made me furious. She is (also) the victim here. As the mother of the victim, she was who I was fighting for in that courtroom. Justice for Felix and justice for her. She lost her son and she will never get him back. All she has left is 814 days of memories. That’s how many days he lived.”

A sentencing date for Reymundo Perez will be scheduled in a hearing Monday. He could get up to 60 years in prison for the reckless homicide conviction and another 15 years for the child abuse conviction.

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