Calgary

'Lonely and abandoned' boy died after suffering abuse at hands of grandfather, judge hears

Before he was beaten to death by his grandfather, five-year old Emilio Perdomo told his mother he wanted to buy her a house when he grew up.

Allan Perdomo Lopez, 60, was found guilty in 2015 death of Emilio Perdomo

Emilio Perdomo, 5, died in July 2015 of a severe head injury. (Court exhibit)

Before he was beaten to death by his grandfather, five-year old Emilio Perdomo told his mother he wanted to buy her a house when he grew up.

But just months after she sent him to Canada where she believed he would have a better life, Emilio "lay on the floor dying alone" following a final, fatal blow to the head, prosecutor Vicki Faulkner told the judge at Allan Perdomo Lopez's sentencing hearing on Tuesday. 

Last month, Perdomo Lopez, 60,  was convicted of manslaughter by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Richard Neufeld. 

The boy was described by his mother and grandmother as a loving child who, when he lived in Mexico, befriended teachers, people on the street and the man who sold ice cream. 

Coldplay's Viva la Vida — which translates to Long Live Life — was Emilio's favourite song. 

Faulkner told the judge the Crown is seeking a 12- to 15-year prison sentence. 

Defence lawyer Darren Mahoney said this case should be considered a "one hit manslaughter" because there is only evidence of one fatal blow to Emilio. Mahoney is proposing a six- to eight-year prison term.

'Horrible abuse'

Emilio's fatal, catastrophic brain injury happened July 9, 2015, but the five-year-old had been suffering what Faulkner described as "horrible abuse" for months. 

Scars on his back indicated the boy had been whipped. 

Bruises covered his feet, shins, knees, thighs, groin, stomach, chest, arms, face and head.

On Emilio's left upper arm: a bruise in the shape of an adult-sized grip mark. His right elbow was so swollen and bruised, doctors believed it was broken.

During the trial, the judge heard evidence that Perdomo Lopez cut off contact between Emilio and his family in Mexico shortly after the boy's arrival.

"Emilio must have felt incredibly lonely and abandoned," Faulkner told Neufeld. 

Grandfather calls boy 'ungrateful demon'

During conversations recorded by police, Perdomo Lopez referred to Emilio as an "ungrateful demon" whose spirit needed to be cleansed from the family's home. 

Faulkner said those "negative and spiteful terms" were used by the grandfather in an effort to "justify the blows."

Emilio's mother, Melody Segovia, appeared in the courtroom over closed circuit-TV from Mexico and read a statement written by her mother, Marisol Segovia-Alvarez, who helped raise the boy. She said the family is "devastated" at the loss of Emilio. 

"We always remember his graceful ways and his mischief," said Segovia through tears.

During the trial, the judge heard heartbreaking evidence that a man who worked at a flea market frequented every Sunday by the Perdomo Lopez family became so concerned with Emilio's obvious physical injuries that he called child protective services. 

The man said the boy seemed quiet and afraid. He called the authorities after one Sunday when he saw Emilio was barely able to walk and had a bandage on his head. 

Perdomo Lopez's wife, Carolina Perdomo, was to go on trial alongside her husband but earlier this year her charge was stayed by prosecutor Shane Parker.

The sentence is due to be handed down on Friday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or follow her on Twitter.

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