A California man who was convicted of murdering two young children and torturing another with his lover in 2015, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Monterey County prosecutors said Wednesday that defendant Gonzalo Curiel, then a teenager, moved in with his 41-year-old lover Joy Huntsman in her Salinas home in 2014. The three children -- ages 3, 6, and 9 -- were in Huntsman's care after the death of Huntsman’s sister and incarceration of the children’s father, the Salinas Californian reported.
For months, Curiel and Huntsman beat, starved and tortured the three children, authorities said. In November 2015, after the couple had beaten the two youngest to death, they stored the bodies in a storage locker in Redding.
In December 2015, the 9-year-old, identified in court proceedings as Jane Doe, was found by authorities curled up on the floor of an SUV amid freezing winter temperatures.
Curiel and Huntsman then told authorities about the storage locker and were arrested.
“The beatings, starving, efforts to exert authority and control are really reflective of a ruthlessness that is rarely seen,” Monterey County Superior Court Judge Pamela Butler said. “You should never get out of state prison.”
“The beatings, starving, efforts to exert authority and control are really reflective of a ruthlessness that is rarely seen. You should never get out of state prison.”
Forensic evidence indicated the children died from blunt force trauma, made worse by malnutrition, KSBW-TV reported. The 6-year-old reportedly was at half the normal weight for boys his age at the time of his death.
Huntsman pleaded guilty in February, and Curiel in April.
Jane Doe, who testified in court, said she forgives Curiel and Huntsman. She is now living in a foster home. Due to recently passed legislation in California, Curiel will not receive the death penalty because he was a teenager at the time of the alleged torture and murder.
Curiel’s attorney said he plans to file an appeal.