Man gets 75 years for murder of 3-year-old girl

Jose Cruz beat gf's daughter to death in 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - A man pleaded guilty Monday to the murder of a 3-year-old girl who he beat to death in August of 2012.

Jose Cruz, 21, pleaded guilty to killing Carmen Ellis, the daughter of his then-girlfriend, Samantha Ellis, 24.

Carmen Ellis was found unresponsive and covered in bruises when police were called to Spanish Oak Apartments in Indianapolis last year. The girl died the next day at Riley Hospital for Children.

Marion County court documents said the day of the incident, the 3-year-old had soiled herself, which prompted Cruz to grab her head, shake her and throw her into a TV.

The documents also revealed that moments before Cruz administered the beating, the victim told him, "Papa I hate you."

"Who knows ultimately what goes through their minds in the moments that they decide to kill. But the beating he inflicted on that child, there is simply no question what the the ultimate result would be. And that is, he would be here today and Carmen would not," Deputy Prosecutor Kristina Korobov said.

Samantha Ellis was in the apartment with her daughter and infant son at the time police were called, investigators said.

Samantha was also arrested, on a charge of neglect of a dependent. Documents said Samantha Ellis told police she knew Cruz had beaten her daughter and other children with a belt.

Prevent Child Abuse Indiana said Carmen's death should be a reminder to adults that child abuse is preventable.

"Sometimes we're the ones who need a timeout. If we feel we are gonna lose it, we need to separate ourselves immediately from the child. Make sure the child is in a safe place in a crib or a play pen. Take a timeout ourselves as an adult so we can collect our cool and then deal with the situation," said President of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana Sharon Pierce.

Cruz has been informally sentenced to 75 years in prison for the crime, including a 65-year sentence for murder and a 10-year sentence for aggravated battery. He will be formally sentenced Oct. 16.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas


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