Siblings Testify to Parents Alleged Torture Methods in Anthony Avalos Murder Trial
In the ongoing, non-jury Anthony Avalos murder trial, the 10-year-old’s siblings took the stand to testify against their mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva. Authorities found Avalos dead in June 2018 when his mother called 911 days after Leiva beat the boy until he went unconscious.
The increased severity of the abuse against Avalos reportedly came about after the boy told his parents he liked boys and girls.
When authorities arrived on the scene, Avalos was already brain-dead with no pulse. The family waited a long time before calling the paramedics to allow Levia to sign over guardianship of his children to a nearby relative and flee the home. Medical personnel pronounced Avalos dead upon arriving at the hospital.
Avalos’ siblings, Destiny and Rafael, take the stand
Much of the day’s testimony came from two of Avalos’ siblings, Destiny and Rafael. The siblings expanded on the alleged abuses, saying they would engage in gladiator-style battles under the threat of physical abuse.
Leiva also forced the children to kneel on rice and perform bizarre workout routines. Rafael explained how Leiva would force him to hold weights over his head in a squatted position, often for hours. Avalos’ brother revealed he once fell over onto a metal chair out of exhaustion. He then had to get staples in his head.
Another one of Leiva’s torture methods involved forcing the children to eat tortillas filled with peanut butter within a specific time limit. If the children could not eat their meal in the allotted time, Leiva would force them to drink hot sauce.
Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami was responsible for questioning the children. Both children held stress balls and fidgeted on the stand. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, Hatami was very gentle with the children, who reportedly spoke very slowly and with intention.
When asked if he still loved his mother, Rafael explained he “used to but my feelings have changed.” He continued, “I started to realize all the bad things she did to me,” after confirming he did not think she was a good mother.
Leiva admits to the abuse but not the murder
Leiva’s attorneys confirmed their client did admit to abusing the children. But he would not take responsibility for the head injuries leading to Avalos’ death. Rafael and Destiny, however, told a different story. Both children testified to watching Leiva drop Avalos on his head approximately 20 times.
Destiny also said, “I think it was giving him brain damage.”
She explained that Avalos was “saying weird things” before he died. When asked what her mother did throughout all of the abuse, Destiny said, “She was watching.”
When asked who was responsible for Avalos’ death, Rafael immediately said “Kareem.”
Barron reportedly sat in the courtroom with no emotion on her face. Multiple people have come forward to testify to Barron’s complete lack of empathy and her attempts to conjure fake emotions in an attempt to garner sympathy.
Barron appears to have no emotion about the situation
An ABC 7 report confirms that, when confronted by investigators, Barron vehemently denied the allegations of physical abuse against her and Leiva. “He has been throwing himself. He has. I promise you,” she said. “He has been Barron said Avalos was “acting up and he threw himself (on the floor) because he didn’t want to eat.”
During her first interview with investigators, she assured them “it was nothing like that. I promise I did not hurt my son.” She added, “I did not let nobody hurt my son. I promise you to God. You can give me a lie detector test. I did not do this.” However, paramedics on the scene said Barron showed no emotion as they tried to resuscitate her son.
Sergeant Robert Wilkinson, an officer involved in the case, said, “It appeared that she was trying, in my opinion, to fake an emotion. I never saw any tears.” Barron’s own brother, David, said of his sister’s mental state, “She has the same blank expression, even when Destiny and Junior are on the stand, she has no emotion.”