November 22, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria man pleads in death of girlfriend’s 2-year-old

Luis Lopez of Elyria talks with his attorney, Ken Ortner, after pleading guilty and receiving his sentence Tuesday in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Luis Lopez of Elyria talks with his attorney, Ken Ortner, after pleading guilty and receiving his sentence Tuesday in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — An Elyria man whose girlfriend’s 2-year-daughter died after being injured while he was babysitting her pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of involuntary manslaughter, endangering children and domestic violence.

Prosecutors dropped murder and felonious assault charges against 27-year-old Luis Lopez as part of the plea agreement, which will see Lopez sentenced to eight years in prison during a hearing next week.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo said prosecutors agreed to the reduced charges because reports prepared on the Sept. 11, 2011, death of Aaviana Payne indicated that the child was injured by striking her head on the stairs. An autopsy determined that blunt head trauma caused bleeding on the brain that killed Aaviana.

He said Lopez failed to seek medical attention for the girl, which allowed her injuries to grow worse.

“It’s not based on knowingly or purposefully harming the child,” Cillo said of the charges in the plea agreement. “It was based upon what happened afterward.”

Lopez told investigators that he was carrying Aaviana, who had a broken leg caused by an earlier fall from a bed, down the stairs when he slipped and dropped the child, according to a defense expert’s report.

The expert, Dr. Werner Spitz, wrote in his report that Lopez then asked Aaviana if she was hurt and the girl replied that she was OK. He took her upstairs, put her to bed and checked on her throughout the day, but she was always sleeping.

After Aaviana’s mother, Margot Young, returned home, she also checked on her daughter, who was still asleep. Lopez later went to get a DVD from Aaviana’s room and saw “a red powdery substance on Aaviana’s pillow,” Spitz wrote.

An ambulance was called, but Aaviana ultimately died from her injuries.

Defense attorney Kenneth Ortner said after Tuesday’s hearing that although his client would have preferred a short sentence, he was taking responsibility for his actions.

“It’s a difficult case,” Ortner said. “In my opinion it was a clear-cut accident, but on the other hand, an innocent child died and there are consequences for that.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.


  • zdubb78

    8 Years………. should be 80 years!!!!!!!!
    He killed a little child……

  • ekwaykway

    “It’s a difficult case” No it isn’t, they should both get life sentences.

  • Mike Litoris

    His sentence should be equivalent to every year of potential that he robbed that child of.

  • Don Grantzki

    It clearly was the results of an accident. He’d likely have gotten a lesser sentence if he had said he threw the child down the steps.

  • Nicole Runyon Thompson

    I hope this waste of human flesh rots in h3ll!!! He gets 8yrs? Well we got a life sentence. And before any of u start on the bs aboit the mother-SHE DID NOTHING WRONG!! There was no way for us to know this could happen so save it. We are suffering enough as it is.

    • ekwaykway

      She left her child in a compromising situation. Her judgement is in question regarding the so called babysitter.

    • Pamela Norris

      So very sry for your loss Nicole.

  • tomfeher

    Before he goes to prison they should break his leg and dip his feet in hot oil. POS

  • Sandy Wendell Riley

    My heart goes out to the mother of this precious child. The fault lies with the monster that did this. I cannot even begin to know the pain this child or her mother have endured.
    May God bless her mom and all of her loved ones with his grace, strength and comfort.

  • tammy

    Come on now. A broken leg, then he “accidentally” trips and drops her on her head. Was the previous broken leg investigated?

  • tickmeoff

    You always side on the side of caution, the fact hat she was sleeping should have gotten the Einstein thinking….Is she sleeping or dieing? He made a fatal lack of judgement, but he didn’t mean to kill her. It still is no better, he wasn’t sharp enough to get her to the hospital. So his stupidity killed her, this was a terrible tragedy that could have been averted!

  • Jason Gonzales

    everybody is so quick to judge him where was the mother and why do these women let guys they just started dating around there kids… he made a mistake and now he is paying for it and will continue paying for it after his sentence. you people are not god so stop judging that man noone knows what really happened but you all are so quick to put this guy down let him do his time he is suffering too… and for the lady who mafe the comment that she hopes he rotts in hell just shows what type of person you really are its a dam shame but then again you are probably related to the mother of the child.. the mother should be in jail too…

    • Joe Smith

      You say for people to not judge while judging people yourself

  • Laurie Norman

    Yes I will place all the blame in the world on the mother. She was the one that should have protected this little girl. And the child already had a broken leg and she left her daughter with this man again. And if memory serves me right didn’t the mother lie to CPS that this man wasn’t around her daughter anymore? So she decided to put a man above her own daughter. SMH.