Marshall man sentenced after pleading guilty to felony assault on baby

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Robert Pineda, 36, has been sentenced to five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the assault of his seven-month-old daughter, Briseida Pineda, according to Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Donald G. Stouffer.

Pineda is an illegal alien from El Salvador.

Stouffer said he asked the Pettis County court to sentence Pineda to the maximum term of seven years, arguing that Pineda's crime was devastating to Briseida, and that she would remain unable to contribute to her own care or to enjoy life in any meaningful sense.

Stouffer further argued Pineda was in this country illegally, and that his only contribution had been to leave a child in a permanent vegetative state, costing the taxpayers of Missouri what will likely be millions of dollars for the child's lifelong care.

Pineda has only a ninth-grade education and is unlikely to ever contribute to the child's care or to pay any of her medical expenses, Stouffer argued.

"These cases are terribly difficult. The last picture I have of little Bri was so cluttered with tubes and bandages that you could hardly see the baby," Stouffer said. "There is no way to lessen the impact of this senseless crime on Bri or on the taxpayers of this state. (The child) is a citizen because she was born in this country. For that reason, she will receive all of the treatment medically possible."

Pineda entered a guilty plea to the offense and admitted he became frustrated with the child's crying. In an effort to quiet her, he shook her violently and she passed out for 8 to 10 minutes, and was "pale and floppy" when she regained consciousness.

After Pineda's wife came home from work, Briseida was rushed to the hospital and then transferred to University of Missouri Medical Center.

During the next seven months, she incurred medical expenses in excess of $250,000.

Briseida sustained permanent impairment of 70-75 percent of her brain function, has no voluntary movement in any of her limbs and her vision and hearing are substantially and permanently impaired, Stouffer said.

She is unable to feed or dress herself, or otherwise take care of herself or communicate any physical need and will require continuous care for the balance of her life, he said.

"I believe Pineda should have been sentenced to the maximum term," Stouffer said. "I intend to fully inform the parole board about the circumstances of this crime, and when Pineda is released, I am going to ask that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent be waiting at the prison door to deport him."

Contact Kathy Fairchild at

marshallhealth@socket.net

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