16Sebastian Iturbe, 4, was viciously attacked and beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend, Gerardo Chavarria.  And what for you ask – for spilling Chavarria’s beer.  Apparently, Chavarria saw this simple accident as completely unacceptable and saw fit to hand out a punishment, a brutal beating.  After beating the little boy so callously, leaving him barely clinging to life, Chavarria realized that what he had just done, was going to look very bad for him.  So, as many others have done, he waited for hours before getting medical attention for Sebastian.  Sadly, Sebastian’s life could not be saved, and the little boy passed away shortly after being taken to the hospital.

As a mother with 3 little boys, I have seen anything and everything that can spill, be spilled.  The one I remember most was when my youngest wasn’t quite 2, I was working on the computer, and I had a glass of iced tea beside me.  My baby boy climbed up onto my lap in that flailing way toddlers have while still being balanced, and he knocked the entire glass of iced tea onto my computer.  My laptop was instantly destroyed.  I sat staring at that blank screen shocked, and when I looked at my baby, he was staring at me trying to decide if he should cry or laugh.  That was all I needed, and I started laughing, he wrapped his arms around my neck and giggled with me.  Was I upset, sure.  Was I able to do anything about it, no.  Did I put that glass of iced tea beside the computer, knowing full well it was probably a bad idea, yup.  Was it an accident, absolutely without a doubt.  As a parent you move on.  I bought a new laptop and fortunately had back up disks with all of my files and documents.  Life moves on.  Unfortunately it did not move on for Sebastian.

Gerardo Chavarria

Gerardo Chavarria

Chavarria initially told authorities that he was watching Sebastian, when the little boy fell down the basement stairs.  He then changed his story and told law enforcement that he accidently pushed Sebastian with a child carrier, causing him to fall down the stairs.

When Sebastian’s autopsy was complete, it showed exactly what authorities suspected, Sebastian’s injuries were not consistent with the stories Chavarria was giving.  Sebastian had died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma to his head.

Chavarria never admitted to abusing Sebastian or intentionally causing the little boy’s death.  He was charged with murder, but 2 weeks before he was to go to trial, he signed a plea agreement.  He agreed to tell the court what actually happened that fateful morning, and in exchange his charges were reduced to manslaughter.  When this monster finally told the truth, it was devastating for Sebastian’s family to know that this beautiful little boy that they loved so dearly, suffered so much in his last days and hours on this Earth.

“The day this happened I had just gotten up.  I was drinking a beer, watching TV with Sebastian.”  Chavarria said speaking to the judge.  “He did something, I don’t remember what, that knocked over the bottle of beer.  For whatever reason I got angry, and I hit his head against the floor.” The court room was silent, and all you could hear was the gasp from Sebastian’s family.  Chavarria continued on, say that he slammed Sebastian’s head into the floor until he quit making noises, then he tucked Sebastian into bed.  A few hours after doing this, Chavarria decided to bring Sebastian to the hospital.  Along with confessing to murdering Sebastian, Chavarria admitted that he had hit the little boy with a belt and a sandal in the past.  Much to my horror, I also learnt that Sebastian’s 13 month old sister was also in Chavarria’s care at the time of Sebastian’s murder.

Chavarria was sentenced to 25 years in prison.  Once he has served his 25 years, he will be deported.  He must also pay restitution and legal fees.  When the judge handed down the sentence, he took a moment to say that 25 years ‘may not be enough’.

Sebastian’s family addressed Chavarria in the court room with the victim impact statements.  Sebastian’s mother, Erika Iturbe Colin spoke to Chavarria with anger in her voice, “We miss his laugh, his smiles … I will never get to hear him say ‘I love you Mommy’.  I can’t say that I forgive you, because I don’t.  I hate you with all of my heart.”  I can’t imagine the devastation, sorrow and regret that Erika must feel, and it breaks my heart to know that this mother, not unlike myself, will live every day for the rest of her life without her precious son.

In their darkest hour, Sebastian’s family made the decision to donate the little boy’s organs, which saved three children’s lives.  The act will never make Sebastian’s death OK, but it honors his life, and it shows how long after Sebastian has left this world, he will still live on in the children’s lives he saved.  Three families were given the chance that Sebastian’s family had stolen from them.  The chance to watch their children grow up.




~ by LTWH on September 6, 2013.

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