GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Jurors have convicted a western Michigan man in the beating death of his girlfriend's 4-year-old son.
A Kent County jury reached the verdict Thursday, finding 29-year-old Elis Ortiz-Nieves guilty of felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the June death of Giovanni Mejias in Gaines Township near Grand Rapids.
A medical examiner said Giovanni suffered significant blunt-force trauma that resulted in a 4-centimeter tear in his abdominal tissue and a puncture in his bowels, causing him to die of internal bleeding. Authorities say Ortiz-Nieves claimed Giovanni was sick and he tried to get the boy to vomit by poking at his stomach.
Six other children were removed from the home. Authorities say Ortiz-Nieves cared for the children while his girlfriend worked.
His sentencing hearing was scheduled for Jan. 11.
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