A Madras man Thursday was sentenced to 12 years in prison for beating a 2-year-old child in 2017.
According to Central Oregon Daily news partner The Madras Pioneer who was in court Thursday, the sentencing was part of a negotiated settlement. Josue Jair Mendoza-Melo, 22, of Madras, pleaded no contest to attempted aggravated murder, a Class A felony, and first-degree criminal mistreatment a Class C felony.
The Pioneer reported Chief Deputy District Attorney Brentley Steele Foster recounted the crimes that led to the sentence, noting that on Nov. 19, 2017, police received a call about a critically injured 2-year-old child, who was unresponsive when he was taken to St. Charles Madras, by his mother and his mother’s boyfriend, Mendoza-Melo.
The toddler, Ezra Thomas, was airlifted to Oregon Health and Science University with catastrophic injuries, which included a brain bleed, a large bruise on his forehead, a scraped chin and bruising beneath his jaw.
The deputy investigating the incident learned that Mendoza-Melo was in charge of caring for Ezra while the boy’s mother, Kaytlynne Rogerson, was at work that morning. Two hours after Rogerson went to work, Mendoza-Melo drove with the boy to pick up Rogerson, who looked at her son and told Mendoza-Melo that they were going straight to the hospital.
The Pioneer reported during the interviews with Mendoza-Melo, his story changed from saying that the boy fell, to admitting that he had shaken the boy, who had repeatedly hit the back of his head on the floor.
“He demonstrated his actions with a doll,” said Foster, noting that it wasn’t until Ezra acted like a “drunk baby” that he realized that he was injured.
Mendoza-Melo’s attorney, Laura Moszer, told the Pioneer they agreed to the settlement because, “At the conclusion of all this, I believe the evidence would have been enough to convict him.”
Asked by Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Annette Hillman if he wanted to make a statement, Mendoza-Melo said, “No, your honor.”
Hillman sentenced Mendoza-Melo to 10 years in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections on the first charge, and two years on the second charge, to be served consecutively, followed by three years of post-prison supervision. He will receive credit for time served on the first charge, but may not be considered for any form of reduction in sentence.
Charges of first-, second- and third-degree assault and another charge of first-degree criminal mistreatment were dismissed.
Mendoza-Melo is scheduled to be back in court in October for a trial on sexual abuse charges unrelated to this case.