Crime

Merced man convicted of beating children, age 5 and 7, prosecutors say

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A Merced man was convicted Friday of multiple counts of child abuse against a 5-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy, according to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.

A Merced County jury found 28-year-old Matthew Ernest Flores guilty of child abuse likely to cause great bodily harm or death on a child, the 5-year-old. The count carried an allegation that the defendant personally inflicted the great bodily injury to the child, the office said in a news release.

The jury also found Flores, who is not the father of the children, guilty of misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor child abuse on the second child, the girl’s 7-year-old brother, the release said.

Medical personnel were called to a Merced home on Sept. 17, 2017, to aid a 5-year-old girl, who was found unresponsive, according to investigators. While examining the girl, first responders noticed other injuries on her body and the girl was taken to a local hospital for surgery on “a brain bleed.”

“The jury thoughtfully and diligently listened to the evidence and deliberated on their verdicts,” Deputy District Attorney Sara Rosenthal said in the release. “It’s a miracle the 5-year-child has made a full physical recovery. The victims and their father can now move forward rebuilding their lives.”

Flores’ attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

The defendant has prior felony and misdemeanor convictions for unrelated offenses, the office said. His sentencing is set for Jan 25, when he faces up to 9 years in prison.

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