|For Immediate Release
Case #: 08ZF0018
January 25, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
UNCLE CONVICTED OF MURDERING 2½-YEAR-OLD NIECE AFTER RECEIVING SOLE CUSTODY AND BEATING HER WITH HAND AND BELT
SANTA ANA – An uncle was convicted today of murdering his 2½-year-old niece by repeatedly beating her with his hand and belt after gaining custody and becoming the victim’s sole caretaker. Michael David Balderas, 33, Cypress, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of second degree murder and one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce death. He now faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Feb. 22, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In October 2005, Balderas received custody of his 2½-year-old niece Baby Jo Jade because his sister was preparing to serve a federal prison sentence in Texas. In January 2006, the defendant brought the victim to live with him in Cypress. He was unemployed and the sole caretaker of Baby Jo Jade. The defendant’s girlfriend also lived in the house, but was not home during the day because she worked as a school teacher.
Between January and March 2006, Balderas physically abused Baby Jo Jade by inflicting blunt force to her body.
On March 30, 2006, Balderas became angry that the victim was crying and having bladder and bowel accidents. The defendant repeatedly beat Baby Jo Jade with his hand and a belt. Late that afternoon, Balderas called his girlfriend and asked her to come home. When Balderas’ girlfriend arrived, she found the victim unresponsive, called 911, and took the baby and defendant to the hospital immediately.
Hospital personnel were unable to resuscitate Baby Jo Jade, who was pronounced dead as a result of internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma and repeated injury.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.