Avondale man gets life in prison for 3-year-old's death

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Alvaro Holguin-Duarte By Jennifer Thomas Alvaro Holguin-Duarte By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- An Avondale man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2008 death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter.

On Nov. 17, 2008, Avondale paramedics responded to an apartment complex near Third Avenue and Van Buren Street for a call of a child not breathing.

Alisandra Oliviana Romero was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. According to police, the child had multiple bruises on her body.

Police said that Alvaro Holguin-Duarte was taking care of Alisandra and his girlfriend's other children while she was at work. He told police he had slapped the child after she soiled her pants, but Alisandra's 11-year-old brother told officers that he saw Holguin-Duarte stomp on the girl's chest.

Holguin-Duarte was charged with murder and two counts of child abuse. In January, he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

The child abuse charges were dropped as part of the plea deal, which removed the possibility of a death sentence.