A northern Indiana man has been sentenced to 100 years in prison for beating his 4-year-old stepson to death.
An Elkhart County judge sentenced Christian Maradiaga, 20, of Elkhart on Thursday in Romeo Pineda Duran's June 2021 death. A jury had convicted Maradiaga in September of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death, and interference with the reporting of a crime.
Maradiaga claimed his stepson fell in the shower and hit his head before later dying of his injuries at a hospital. But medical examiners and witnesses testified during his trial that the evidence showed the boy was beaten so severely he became brain-dead, The Goshen News reported.
Prosecutors said Maradiaga’s biological son was also present when Romeo was fatally beaten.
Romeo's aunt, Jennifer Duran Hernandez, testified during Thursday’s sentencing, saying that "the day we got to say goodbye to my nephew was the hardest day of my life."