A Florida mother has been convicted of torturing her toddler to death in the so-called "Baby Lollipops" case that riveted the Miami area decades ago.
Jurors returned their verdict Wednesday in the third trial for 56-year-old Ana Maria Cardona, who was twice sentenced to death for the killing of 3-year-old Lazaro Figueroa, only to have her convictions thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court.
The little boy's body was so malnourished and battered that police could not initially identify him, calling him "Baby Lollipops" because of a T-shirt he wore.
Prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty this time. Testifying in her own defense, Cardona claimed her former female lover killed the boy after taking him to some other home.
Cardona's lawyer says she was a bad mother and may have abused Lazaro, but did not kill him. Cardona testified earlier that her female lover killed the boy with a baseball bat.
Attorney Steve Yermish said in a closing argument Wednesday that jurors have a right to be angry with Cardona for her poor parenting skills. But he said that doesn't mean Cardona killed Lazaro.
Prosecutor Reid Rubin said Cardona killed they boy and hid his body. Rubin said the boy was beaten throughout his short life and was starving to death, weighing just 18 pounds.
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