|For Immediate Release
Case # 11ZF0117 July 26, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR BEATING-MURDER OF 18-MONTH-OLD TODDLER AND SIMILAR 2009 CHILD ABUSE OF 3-MONTH-OLD RELATIVE
SANTA ANA – A man will face trial Monday for the beating-murder of his girlfriend’s sister’s 18-month-old daughter and abusing another child in a similar way in 2009. Juan Carlos Aguilar, 27, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, and two felony counts of child abuse. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 31 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, July 29, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In July 2011, Aguilar is accused of living in a Santa Ana apartment with his girlfriend, their 3-year-old daughter, his girlfriend’s sister, and her 18-month-old daughter Megan Rodriguez.
At approximately 7:00 a.m. on July 9, 2011, Rodriguez’s mother left the apartment to go to work at a Newport Beach hotel. At approximately 8:30 a.m., Aguilar’s girlfriend left to go to the market with their 3-year-old daughter. Aguilar is accused of remaining at home with the 18-month-old toddler and was solely responsible for her care.
While alone with the little girl, Aguilar is accused of assaulting the victim with great force by squeezing her ribcage with his hands. At approximately 10:30 a.m., Aguilar’s girlfriend and daughter returned from the store to find the victim limp and having trouble breathing. Aguilar is accused of insisting that his girlfriend not call the police and instead drove the victim from Santa Ana to the Newport Beach hotel where her mother worked.
After picking up Rodriguez’s mother, Aguilar is accused of driving with the women to take the victim to Santa Ana Coastal Community Hospital. Rodriguez had shallow breath and a slight pulse upon arrival. She was pronounced dead approximately 15 minutes later. The defendant is accused of causing multiple traumatic injuries to the victim including bruises and lacerations to her body and face, and internal injuries to her lungs, liver, and brain.
The defendant was charged with the murder by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) on July 12, 2011. As part of the OCDA’s ongoing investigation, it was determined that Aguilar was involved in another case in 2009. The defendant is accused of abusing a 2-month-old female relative by squeezing and fracturing her rib cage, similar to the assault of Rodriguez. The baby in this case survived her injuries.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.