Iowa City man takes plea deal in beating death of 20-month-old before trial set to begin

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — An Iowa City man has taken a plea deal in the beating death of a toddler.

Online court documents say 23-year-old Jorge Perez entered an Alford plea Monday to one count of child endangerment resulting in death. He and his then-girlfriend Mireya Balderas are accused of beating to death 20-month-old Marcus Balderas in April 2012.

In an Alford plea, a person doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a likely conviction. Perez's jury trial had been set to begin Tuesday.

Police say Perez admitted hitting the boy's head and face, stepping on his stomach, tossing him to the ground and slapping him. Balderas also conceded to striking the boy several times and holding a pillow over his face.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 9.

Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen,

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