Jury sentences Yvonne Gonzales to 99 years for murder of 4-year-

Jury sentences Yvonne Gonzales to 99 years for murder of 4-year-old girl

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Update June 7

A jury has sentenced Yvonne Gonzales to 99 years in prison for the murder of four-year-old Alyrah Sanchez, 2.5 years ago.
She openly pleaded guilty to killing four-year-old Alyrah Sanchez.

In Nov. 2015, Gonzales was dating Alyrah's father when the child died of "blunt force trauma."

Gonzales was just 19-years-old at the time of the murder.

She told police officers the girl choked on food and stopped breathing. Prosecutors said the injuries were inconsistent with her "choking" story.

Photos shown to the jury in court show bruises across the victim's body and face and a sliced liver. The photos were enough to make a juror pass out.

In closing statements, her attorney Charles Chambers asked for a 30-year sentence saying Gonzales needed both redemption and retribution. The sentence wasn't the sentence they wanted.

"You just never know, every case is different. Of course, we're disappointed with the 99 years and we'll probably file an appeal," Chambers said.

Prosecutor Sunshine Stanek said she's happy with the outcome.

"We're very pleased with the 99 years. We believe that is a life sentence.we are confident the defendant will never ever walk out of the prison system on this sentence," Stanek said.

Alyrah's family members addressed their frustrations with Gonzales, and are ultimately happy to see her locked up.

"The world is so cold and it's just right up in your face because this woman came and did this to somebody who you loved. It just kills this innocence and this light. It takes the light away of your life," Aunt Danielle Trigo said.

"We're just happy that justice was served and my niece is getting the justice that she needs. The rest of our family is happy that justice was served," Uncle Joe Sanchez said.

Gonzales is held in the Lubbock County Detention Center. She will be eligible for parole once half her sentence is served. 

Update June 6

Emotions ran high on day two of Yvonne Gonzales's sentencing phase. 

Medical Examiner, Dr. Sridhar Natarajan testified and showed about 70 photos to the jury of the child who was brutally beaten to death by Gonzales. She was dating Alyrah's father at the time. 

The photos displayed up to 50 bruises across her body, mainly on the right side of her torso and legs, and on her left side of the face. 

In the middle of Natarajan's presentation, a juror raised his hand, asked for a break, and then passed out. 

Natarajan testified Sanchez's liver was lacerated three-fourth's the way through. 

Gonzales's sizer, mother, and aunt all testified. They said she was never violent, loved kids, and often took care of her sisters. They claim she was a good mother to Sanchez. 

Her mother said at one point to the jury, "I lost a grand daughter too." 

The trial will resume Thursday morning. Gonzales faces up to 95 years or life in prison. 

Original Story June 5

Now 22-year-old Yvonne Gonzales has openly pleaded to killing her boyfriend's four-year-old daughter, Alyrah Sanchez, 2.5 years ago.

During opening statements of the sentencing phase, prosecutors say Gonzales beat the child, committing aggravated assault and leaving blunt force trauma. The district attorney says that's what killed her, not choking on a burrito, as the defendant told police.

Prosecutors say the child had bruises down her back, left shoulder and face, and her arm was broken. All the injuries damaged her liver and caused internal bleeding.

The defense reminded jurors that Gonzales admits to killing the child, calling it the first step in redemption, understanding and mitigation.

Gonzales' attorneys say she was a 19-year-old girl with no high school education, and a child thrust on her by child protective services. They say she just got overwhelmed and snapped. 

During testimony an LPD officer who responded to the call on November 18, 2015 recalls Gonzales appeared unusually calm for just finding a dead child. The officer says Gonzales claims she used a cool cloth and a shower to revive the child, but the defendant kept adding details to the story that changed the flow of events.

Testimony resumes Wednesday. Gonzales faces up to 95 years or life in prison.

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