BOISE A Boise man has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to crushing his infant son's head.
Fourth District Judge Deborah Bail sentenced Raymond Ortiz III to life in prison Friday for the death of his 6-week-old son, Elazar Ortiz, last summer. Ortiz will be eligible for parole after 30 years.
Ortiz, 23, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this year, saying he killed the infant in anger.
"I wish I could take it back," Ortiz told Bail during a rambling statement that lasted more than 30 minutes. "One day I will see my son again. I'll do what I can to rehabilitate myself. I know I am going to owe (God) an explanation."
Ortiz apologized to the infant's mother, Kandy Arnold, and grandmother Carmen Martinez.
Elazar's aunt, Kristal Arnold, cried throughout her statement to the court. "You took an innocent life; one who couldn't hit you back," she told Ortiz.
By the time Ortiz addressed the court, Elazar's family sat and listened intently. "I feel great remorse. I hope over time I can be forgiven," Ortiz said. "I know God has forgiven me."
Before sentencing Ortiz, Bail noted that the homicide was particularly horrible because of the infant's age and because most of his short life was spent suffering pain inflicted by his father.
Elazar died from a massive skull fracture in July 2007.
Ortiz said during an earlier court hearing that he "snapped" while feeding the boy. He admitted that he squeezed his son's head until he heard a crack, and he didn't report the injury for days.
Ada County prosecutors say the infant, who was born prematurely, weeks earlier had suffered a broken arm and collarbone.
The infant spent more time at the hospital during his life than he did at home, a prosecutor said. When he was at home, there was evidence Ortiz hit the baby and used to pinch his mouth shut to keep him from crying, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Jill Longhurst said.
Ortiz said earlier that he was neither financially nor emotionally prepared for becoming a parent. He originally was charged with first-degree murder but agreed to plead guilty to the lesser offense.
Prosecutors say Kandy Arnold, the infant's mother, knew about the violence but did not report it to police. She has pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.