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East Palo Alto man found guilty for fatal beating of 2-year-old

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A 26-year-old man was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder for fatally beating the 2-year-old daughter of his girlfriend in East Palo Alto in 2016, San Mateo County prosecutors said Monday.

Adair Jeru Enriquez Zevallos, an East Palo Alto resident, was convicted by a San Mateo County Superior Court jury of second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death.

East Palo Alto police responded at about 1 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2016, to the 300 block of East O’Keefe Street on a report of an unresponsive child and found the 2-year-old girl, Leia Kiele Panduro, not breathing and without a pulse, prosecutors said.

Leia was rushed to Stanford Hospital but was pronounced dead there about an hour later, and an autopsy revealed she had died of blunt force trauma, according to the district attorney’s office.

The girl had been left in the custody of Zevallos, the live-in boyfriend of her mother, and his defense attorneys alleged the death was an accident, prosecutors said.

After eight days of trial and about five and a half hours of deliberation, the jury on Friday returned guilty verdicts.

Zevallos will return to court for sentencing on Nov. 7 and faces a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

He remains in custody on no-bail status and his attorneys Edward Pomeroy and Scott Sherman were not immediately available to comment on the case.

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