A Desert Hot Springs man who abused and killed his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter has been sentenced to 20 years and four months in state prison.
Eric Lopez Puchi, 31, pleaded guilty in October to voluntary manslaughter and seven counts of willful injury to a child. In exchange for Puchi admitting to the felonies, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office dropped murder and assault charges.
Superior Court Judge Charles Stafford certified the plea agreement on Tuesday, imposing the terms stipulated by the prosecution and defense.
According to prosecutors, Puchi killed Isabella Guerra on Nov. 7, 2008. Emergency crews were sent to the 15500 block of Bubbling Wells Road near
Desert Hot Springs that day in response to a report that a child was not
breathing. The comatose toddler was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center, where she was placed on life support.
She died five days later. Puchi was arrested the same day. According to court papers, the injuries Puchi inflicted on the toddler were so severe that she suffered brain damage.
Court records showed that Puchi pleaded guilty in March 2005 to spousal
abuse in a deal under which he was given 36 months probation. He violated his probation five months later by failing to appear in court.
Puchi was back in court in January 2006 and released once again, but violated probation several months later by failing to appear for another
There was a pending warrant for his arrest when he was taken into custody for Isabella’s death, according to court records.