The mother of a 6-year-old autistic boy who was beaten to death in 2009 expressed relief Wednesday that the man charged with his killing had been found guilty on all four counts.
Laura Moreno wiped away tears after hearing the verdict against Eder Acosta, her former boyfriend. Through a court-provided interpreter, she said she felt relieved “that finally there is justice for the death of my son,” Bryan Guzman-Moreno.
“It was a nightmare. I don’t wish that on anyone,” she said. “I never thought I’d have to bury my son. This is the greatest pain.”
Acosta, who was 20 at the time of the death, will be sentenced June 29 by Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Bagley for murder, felony murder, aggravated battery and cruelty to a child in the first degree. He faces up to life in prison on the felony murder charge.
A jury found him guilty of punching Guzman-Moreno in the head, stomach and testicles, causing his July 16, 2009, death.
Acosta lived with Laura Moreno at the time, as did her two brothers and three children, which also included another son, Jose, and a child she had with Acosta.
The trial got under way last week and the jury deliberated for about nine hours over two days.
Moreno said she felt desperation during the court proceedings because she didn’t know what was going to happen.
But Jose Moreno, who had previously talked to the Department of Family and Children Services about his brother being beaten, said he wasn’t worried.
“I knew that he was going to jail,” he said of Acosta.
During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Scalia contended that Acosta had often abused the boy.
She said that abuse escalated to a fatal beating early on that morning nearly three years ago after Acosta returned from driving Laura Moreno to work.
Acosta’s attorney, Michael Saul, argued that his client was not guilty of the charges, instead pointing to one of Moreno’s brothers, who were also there the morning of the incident.
It could not be immediately determined if he plans to appeal the case.
Sentencing is next week, but the fight will continue for Laura Moreno, whose youngest son is in the custody of Acosta’s parents.
“I’m fighting to get custody back,” said Moreno, who only gets to see her son for an hour a week. “I don’t want him to grow up with them … because I don’t want him to end up like his father.
“I don’t want my son to grow up knowing his father did this.”