State v. Lopez

In State v. Lopez, 174 Ariz. 131, 847 P.2d 1078 (Ariz. 1992), the defendant was convicted of child abuse and felony murder in connection with the death of his one-year-old son. He received a sentence of 22 years for the child abuse conviction and the death penalty for the felony murder conviction. 847 P.2d at 1081. The Supreme Court of Arizona upheld both the convictions and the sentences. Evidence showed that the victim died as a result of peritonitis, an infection of the lining of the abdomen caused by a ruptured intestine. Id. at 1083. The defendant struck the victim in the abdomen severely enough to cause the peritonitis. Id. The victim's mother wanted to take him to the hospital, but the defendant would not allow her to do so. Id. at 1081. The jury found two aggravating factors on the child abuse charge: the defendant inflicted serious physical harm to cause the abuse, and the abuse was committed in a heinous, cruel or depraved manner. There were two aggravating circumstances found on the felony murder charge: the murder was committed in a heinous, cruel or depraved manner, and the victim was less than 15 years of age at the time. No mitigating factors were found.