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S'side man sentenced in killing of toddler

YAKIMA - It will be nearly 2020 before Juan Balverde Lopez leaves prison after serving a six-year, seven-month sentence was handed down against him yesterday in Yakima County Superior Court.

A jury convicted the Sunnyside man last month of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the 2010 death of 2-year-old Benjamin Miron.

According to police records, Lopez - 18 at the time - was babysitting Miron in August 2010 and was accused of beating the child severely enough to cause the toddler's death.

Miron, who was taken to Toppenish Memorial Hospital, was found to have suffered severe blows to his upper torso.

Sunnyside police initially requested Lopez be charged with second-degree murder, but the county clerk's office confirmed he was found guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter.

This morning, Thursday, the clerk's office also confirmed Lopez's sentence of 79 months. Of that term, 27 months is considered a "base term" according to county records. An additional 26 months was tacked on to his sentence because it involved a vulnerable victim.

Further, 26 more months were added because of "trust aggravated circumstances" because Lopez was babysiting his girlfriend's children, including Miron, at the time of the beating and resultant death.

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