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Maryland Mom Pleads Guilty in Beating Death of 9-Year-Old Son For Eating Piece of Birthday Cake

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A Maryland woman who failed to intervene while her boyfriend beat her son to death for eating a piece of birthday cake he said he’d saved for his own daughter pleaded guilty to child abuse charges on Wednesday, PEOPLE confirms.

Jack Garcia, the 9-year-old boy, died in June 2015, several days after the beating.

Several months prior, he and his mother, Oriana Iris Garcia, moved from California to Maryland to live in the apartment of Robert Leroy Wilson, a 32-year-old father she had met online.

Five days before he died, Jack was handcuffed to a chair by his uncle — Garcia’s brother, Jacob Barajas, 25 — after being accused of eating a piece of cake that Wilson had been saving for his 2-year-old daughter, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.

Wilson called Garcia at her retail job to inform her about the birthday cake. Garcia agreed that Jack needed to be disciplined and gave Wilson permission to carry out the child’s punishment, the documents state.

Wilson — now serving 30 years after pleading guilty last March to murder — smacked Jack repeatedly in the abdomen, the documents state.

Jack was never enrolled in school, spending his days in Wilson’s apartment with the unemployed Barajas, 25, who also regularly abused him, the documents state.

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Barajas pleaded guilty to child abuse five months ago and will be sentenced soon, the documents state.

Garcia, 27, did online research on head injuries and child abuse as Jack’s condition worsened. Court records show that she denied Jack medical treatment for several hours as she checked her email, perused Facebook, watched animal videos and played video games.

Oriana Iris Garcia
Washington County Circuit Court

Garcia, who sent away an ambulance her brother had summoned for Jack, faces 30 years in prison when she is sentenced in late March.

According to prosecutors, the beating Jack endured just before his death followed a pattern of abuse that began once he and Garcia moved in with Wilson.

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Wilson would box Jack, according to court records, and deprived him of food if he failed to maintain a mandated exercise regimen. Jack was also beaten with a bamboo sword after eating food without permission.

Court records show the child was handcuffed for up to three hours a day in the weeks before he died. Wilson, according to prosecutors, was trying to teach Jack “not to steal.”

Garcia’s attorney could not be reached for comment. The prosecutor was also not immediately available.