Man gets 85 years for suffocating his infant daughter

CHICAGO (STMW) - A man found guilty of repeatedly covering the mouth of his 5-month-old daughter to muffle her crying, leading to severe brain damage and eventually her death, has been sentenced to 85 years in prison.

Rigoberto Rodriguez, 31, was convicted of first-degree murder last year for the death of Angelina Rodriguez, who was found injured at her parents’ Rogers Park home in the 2500 block of West Fitch on April 11, 2013, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Rodriguez and the girl’s mother, 24-year-old Angela Petrov, were drinking Hennessy and listening to music as Angelina was sleeping in her playpen when the girl began to cry, prosecutors said at the couple’s bond hearing.

Petrov picked up the crying baby and gave her a bottle, but she continued crying, so Rodriguez took her from Petrov and put the girl on a bed, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez then put his hand over the girl’s mouth to stop her from crying, Buck said. The crying stopped, and he removed his hand, but it started again, authorities said. So Rodriguez put his hand over his baby’s mouth a second time.

The crying briefly stopped again, but when she began once more, Rodriguez put his hand over the girl’s mouth a third time until she stopped crying and her body went limp, prosecutors said.

Petrov saw the baby go limp and did nothing, prosecutors said. Rodriguez put the baby back in her playpen, and then the couple had sex and went to sleep.

They found the baby stiff and unresponsive in the playpen about 11 a.m. the next day and called 911. Angelina was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where doctors found she had older skull fractures and a “blown pupil” as a result of brain swelling and lack of oxygen, prosecutors said.

She was taken off life support three days later and her death was ruled a homicide by suffocation, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The parents were arrested the day they brought her to the hospital. They gave inconsistent accounts of what happened and eventually confessed, prosecutors said.

Petrov was previously convicted of murder and is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 17.

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