"Baby Lollipops" murder

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The "Baby Lollipops" murder was the murder of three-year-old Lazaro Figueroa by his mother Ana Maria Cardona, in Florida. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_0

The body of Lazaro was found abandoned, and identified through house-to-house inquiries. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_1

The case was widely covered in US media, who called the initially unidentified boy "Baby Lollipops", after the design on the T-shirt he was wearing when found. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_2

Cardona was arrested for the murder and sentenced to death; her girlfriend, Olivia Gonzalez, was sentenced to forty years. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_3

On a second appeal Cardona was sentenced to life in prison. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_4

Gonzalez was released after 14 years. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_5

Background "Baby Lollipops" murder_section_0

"Baby Lollipops" murder_table_infobox_0

Ana Maria Cardona"Baby Lollipops" murder_header_cell_0_0_0
Born"Baby Lollipops" murder_header_cell_0_1_0 Ana Maria Cardona

November 26, 1961"Baby Lollipops" murder_cell_0_1_1

Conviction(s)"Baby Lollipops" murder_header_cell_0_2_0 Sentenced to death on April 1, 1992. Resentenced to death on June 10, 2011. Sentenced to life imprisonment on December 13, 2017."Baby Lollipops" murder_cell_0_2_1
Details"Baby Lollipops" murder_header_cell_0_3_0
Victims"Baby Lollipops" murder_header_cell_0_4_0 Lazaro Figueroa"Baby Lollipops" murder_cell_0_4_1
Country"Baby Lollipops" murder_header_cell_0_5_0 United States"Baby Lollipops" murder_cell_0_5_1
State(s)"Baby Lollipops" murder_header_cell_0_6_0 Miami, Florida"Baby Lollipops" murder_cell_0_6_1

Lazaro Figueroa was born on September 18, 1987 to Ana Maria Cardona and Fidel Figueroa. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_6

Cardona also had two older children. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_7

Fidel Figueroa was a well-known drug dealer and died under mysterious circumstances on September 20, 1987. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_8

This crime remains unsolved. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_9

In November 1990, Lazaro Figueroa's body was discovered in front of a beach property in Miami Beach. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_10

He had been severely battered, which made it initially very difficult for authorities to identify him. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_11

Because Lazaro's remains were unidentified for weeks after his discovery, local news outlets nicknamed him "Baby Lollipops" in reference to the shirt he was found wearing. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_12

The cause of death was later determined to be a blow to the head from a baseball bat. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_13

Trial evidence showed that shortly after leaving Lazaro's body in the bushes, the couple fled to Central Florida, even making a stop at Disney World. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_14

Despite claims by neighbors and other individuals that Cardona was abusive towards Lazaro, she consistently denied it. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_15

Her main defense was that it was Olivia Gonzalez, her lover, who had beaten Lazaro and delivered the fatal blow with a baseball bat. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_16

Cardona attested that she wanted to escape the pain of her son's horrible beatings at her girlfriend's hands and so sank into cocaine use to cope. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_17

To support claims on the influence of her past in the case, her defense presented the court with evidence pertaining to her unsettled Cuban upbringing and the psychological devastation caused by the death of Lazaro's father. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_18

According to prosecutor Reid Rubin, however, Cardona was "angry and spiteful" from the death of her wealthy husband as she had lost a luxurious lifestyle. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_19

Gonzalez, however, was able to state her case against Cardona in exchange for a lighter 40-year sentence on the count of second-degree murder. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_20

She served 14 years. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_21

While admitting she played a role in her girlfriend's abuse of Lazaro, she was able to lay the majority of the blame on Cardona for Lazaro's eventual death. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_22

Discovery "Baby Lollipops" murder_section_1

Employees for the Florida Power & Light Company discovered Lazaro Figueroa's dead body on the morning of November 2, 1990 at Miami Beach, hidden beneath some bushes. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_23

The boy was so emaciated that he appeared skeletal, with a bruised right eye. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_24

He wore blue gym shorts over a soiled diaper wrapped multiple times with brown packaging tape. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_25

At the time of his murder, Lazaro's weight was 18 pounds (8.16 kg), half the weight of a healthy child his age. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_26

The t-shirt he was wearing caused the Miami Beach Police Department to name him “Baby Lollipops,” and he remained unidentified for weeks after his discovery. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_27

The Miami Beach Police Department hosted a media conference with multiple detectives handling the murder case. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_28

They also conducted door-to-door interviews in both English and Spanish to obtain more information about the boy. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_29

They received numerous leads and were eventually able to identify the boy as Lazaro Figueroa, son of Ana Maria Cardona and the late Fidel Figueroa . "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_30

Physical injuries and autopsy "Baby Lollipops" murder_section_2

The autopsy revealed that Lazaro had a fresh tear to his corpus callosum as the result of a head injury that occurred hours to days before he died. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_31

The police concluded that he died from a fractured skull, later known to be the result of a baseball bat blow. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_32

He was also starved and beaten, with a cigarette burn on his left cheek, broken teeth, broken bones, and bedsores from being bound to a mattress for extended periods. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_33

His diaper was caked with excrement and attached to his body with brown packing tape, and his arm was permanently fixed at 90 degrees. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_34

Weighing only 18 pounds at the time of his death, Lazaro was malnourished, anaemic, and dehydrated. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_35

The majority of his body bore bruises and scars, which were the result of longstanding injuries from the months preceding his death. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_36

Evidence presented at the trials demonstrated that Lazaro experienced 18 months of torture while he was alive․ Medical data demonstrated repeated occurrences of severe abuse resulting in an arm fracture and skull fractures with underlying subdural and subarachnoid hematomas. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_37

His two upper front teeth also appeared to be knocked out. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_38

Medical examiner Dr. Bruce Hyma testified that Lazaro's physical injuries were inflicted upon him over a long period, and that he had been subject to gagging and repeated starvation. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_39

Trials "Baby Lollipops" murder_section_3

First trial "Baby Lollipops" murder_section_4

At her first trial in 1992, Cardona claimed her girlfriend at the time, Olivia Gonzalez, was the one who tortured Lazaro, eventually causing his death. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_40

Acquaintances of Ana Maria Cardona testified against her by recounting how she had consistently treated Lazaro poorly. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_41

Gonzalez, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 40 years and served 14 years. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_42

Gonzalez testified that on the "last day of October" (the last day before Lazaro's death), Cardona "got pissed off and she hit [Lazaro] with a bat over the head" because he was slow in taking off his diaper. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_43

She stated that Cardona hit Lazaro until "a hole was opened up in his head". "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_44

"His head was cracked." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_45

Gonzalez explained that the wound "started bleeding and bleeding and bleeding, and then I put mercury on it and I applied a plastic band." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_46

Throughout the trial, Cardona labelled Gonzalez as a "murderer" and as a "monster" who forced her to succumb to a sexual relationship with her in exchange for food and shelter for herself and her children. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_47

Defense attorney Steven Yermish remarked, "She was in an abusive relationship she viewed as inescapable because she was being provided for." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_48

Judge David L. Tobin described Lazaro's long-standing abuse as the most "heinous, atrocious and cruel of all times." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_49

Cardona was found guilty of first-degree murder as well as aggravated child abuse. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_50

She received a sentence of death based on the condition of her son's body, becoming the first woman to be sent to death row in Florida. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_51

Second trial "Baby Lollipops" murder_section_5

In 2002, Cardona's initial sentence was overturned due to a Brady violation by the prosecution team, who had failed to allow defense attorneys access to interviews with Gonzalez, and the Florida Supreme Court granted her a second trial. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_52

At the second trial in 2010, prosecutors focused their attention on Lazaro's physical condition and the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his mother. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_53

In the second trial, a mentally-handicapped 14-year-old girl, Gloria Pi from Miami Beach, provided a detailed confession of throwing Lazaro against a wall. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_54

As a result, Cardona's legal defense team attempted to shift the blame of Lazaro's murder from Cardona to the girl. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_55

During the trial, Pi retracted her confession and maintained that she was innocent, emphasizing that she had never cared for or met Lazaro when the defense posited that in the days leading up to his death, Pi was looking after him. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_56

The jury requested that the confession be reread during their deliberation for the verdict. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_57

However, the jurors discounted Pi's testimony because there was not enough evidence to suggest that Lazaro ever stayed at Pi's residence. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_58

Kathleen Pautler described the confession as a "diversionary tactic" used by Cardona's defense team. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_59

Miami-Dade jurors again found Cardona guilty of the two counts, and in 2011, she was sentenced to death a second time. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_60

In contrast to her outrage at the verdict in the 1992 trial, Cardona appeared collected when her sentence was handed down. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_61

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle stated, "Almost 20 years later, a second jury heard the evidence and has come to the same conclusion...The truth still remains the truth." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_62

While reading her sentence, the judge, Reemberto Diaz stated, "Ana Maria Cardona, you have forfeited your right to live... Lazaro was tortured to death." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_63

Third trial "Baby Lollipops" murder_section_6

Cardona spent 17 years on death row before her verdict was overturned by a higher court because the prosecution had used arguments that "improperly inflamed the minds and passions of the jurors". "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_64

The prosecution in the third trial did not seek the death penalty. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_65

In her third trial in 2017, a neighbor testified, "She closed the door...it didn't appear that any lights were on but the shower was going and he was screaming." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_66

She stated that Lazaro was "very small, very thin, very frail." "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_67

However, Cardona insisted under oath that she did not inflict significant abuse on her son or break any of his bones. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_68

She also continued to recant her 1990 statement that Lazaro fell off the bed and hit his head, causing the tear in his corpus callosum. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_69

Instead, she placed the blame on her ex-girlfriend Olivia Gonzalez, insisting that she struck Lazaro with a baseball bat. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_70

The defense said they would introduce evidence Gonzalez had confessed to hitting the boy with the baseball bat and killing him. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_71

Cardona's lawyer, Stephen Yermish, attempted to persuade the jury that while she was indeed a bad mother, she was not necessarily a murderer. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_72

He conceded that "the charge of aggravated child abuse may have been proven", but that the "charge of murder has not". "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_73

The jury found Cardona guilty of the death of Lazaro Figueroa in 1990, and the court convicted her of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse for a third time. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_74

However, this time she was sentenced to life in prison instead of a death sentence. "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_75

Presiding Judge Miguel de la O remarked, “there are wild beasts that show more empathy for their offspring than you showed Lazaro.” "Baby Lollipops" murder_sentence_76

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/"Baby Lollipops" murder.