|J. L. Urban, statue of Lady Justice at court building in Olomouc, Czech Republic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
NORWALK – A South Gate man convicted earlier this month of fatally beating his infant daughter and assaulting his wife was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison, the District Attorney’s Office announced. Deputy District Attorney Heba Matta of the Norwalk Branch Office, who prosecuted the case, said Jose Tulio Deras, 21, was convicted on March 7 of one count each of second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death pertaining to his 9-month-old daughter, Valerie. Deras also was convicted of one count of sodomy by use of force with allegations that the defendant personally used a knife and tied and bound his wife in the commission of the crimes. Norwalk Superior Court Judge Philip Hickok imposed the defendant’s sentence at a morning hearing. Deras was babysitting his infant daughter and 2-year-old stepson on Jan. 15, 2011, when the baby’s crying triggered the fatal beating, the prosecutor said. Deras punched Baby Valerie numerous times in the chest and hit her over the head with a shoe causing fractures to her skull, according to evidence presented at trial. The defendant hid the baby’s body in his car until his wife returned home. Upon her return, he told the wife his vehicle had been impounded. The two argued and Deras proceeded to tie and sexually assault his wife. Following the assault, he retrieved the baby’s body from the car. Ultimately, the wife convinced Deras to untie her under the pretext that they could revive Baby Valerie using CPR. Once free, the wife managed to escape with the older child and sought aid at a nearby auto body shop where workers helped her hide and called 911. The older child was uninjured. That night, Deras fled to Mexico but was apprehended shortly after his arrival due to the organized efforts of law enforcement who returned the defendant to Los Angeles County to stand trial. The case was investigated by officers of the South Gate Police Department.