An Elgin man was found guilty Monday of aggravated battery for breaking the legs of his then-8-week-old stepdaughter April 3, 2010.
Kane County Associate Judge Patricia Piper Golden cited several reasons for her decision on Ricardo Robledo-Espino, 29.
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One was that there was no evidence that the fractures were caused by anything else, such as malnutrition, birth trauma, a fall, a diaper change or being hit by the wagging tail of a dog. Medical experts described the breaks, near the girl's knees, as "bucket-handle" fractures, and said such fractures usually signal child abuse, involving twisting and pulling.
Nor would they be caused by a person pressing on the legs, the experts said. Robledo-Espino testified that he thought he might have accidentally broken the legs by pressing on them as he attempted to get off a bed. He also testified that he had pulled the baby, who was lying on a bed, gently by the legs to bring her closer to him, so he could pick her up. He was watching the child, and her older sister, while the mother was out shopping.
The judge also cited Robledo-Espino's two-week delay in telling doctors, nurses and the mother about the pulling and the pressing, and that he had "changed stories," as leading her to find his testimony "uncredible." Robledo-Espino and the mother had sought medical treatment for the girl April 7, 2010, after the mother noticed one of the girl's legs was swollen. The mother had also noticed three days earlier the baby was more irritable than usual and reacted in pain when her legs were moved.
His attorney said the different versions were theories Robledo-Espino offered up, when questioned by Elgin police, in an attempt to be helpful in finding a cause.
"It does not make sense that a caring person would wait two weeks (to provide information to doctors)," Golden said. Golden said it appears the child has fully recovered from the injuries.
About 20 of Espino's supporters attended the announcement. The child's mother married Espino while he awaited trial. "Every single person (on both sides of the family) is in favor of Ricardo," defense attorney Daniel Radakovich said.
Robledo-Espino faces 6 to 30 years in prison on each of the two counts, and because they are Class X felonies, he would not be eligible for probation. He will also have to register with Illinois' Child Murderer and Violence Against Youth registry.
Golden set a sentencing date of Oct. 4 and revoked Robledo-Espino's bail.