Cristina Gonzalez Tijerina was sentenced to ten years in prison by a Montgomery County jury for causing Serious Bodily Injury by Omission to her three year old grandson.
Tijerina was convicted on May 13, 2011, after a week-long trial, of the first degree felony offense of Injury to a Child, which carries a range of punishment of five years to Life in prison. Because Tijerina had no previous felony convictions, she was also eligible for probation.
Tijerina was the last of three defendants to be convicted in the death of three year old David Tijerina. Last year Noah Herrera, the child’s uncle, was convicted of Capital Murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In April of this year, Crystal Tijerina, the child’s aunt, was convicted of Injury to a Child by Omission and sentenced to ten years in prison.
August 31, 2009 David Tijerina was transported by ambulance to St. Luke’s Hospital, in The Woodlands, with bruising on his face and abdomen. EMS personnel testified that during their transport of the child, he never had a pulse and was never breathing on his own. An autopsy of David Tijerina later revealed severe damage to multiple internal organs, fractured ribs, and massive internal bleeding.
David Tijerina had been in the care of Noah Herrera, Crystal Tijerina, and Cristina Tijerina since 2008, when his mother died of a drug over dose. Herrera eventually confessed to detectives with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office that he beat David Tijerina because he spilled cereal all over the floor.
Steve Chauvin, Cristina’s ex-boyfriend, testified during her trial that; “as soon as I saw the child I knew something was wrong with him.” Chauvin testified that he told Crystal and Cristina that the child needed to go to the hospital, but no one would take him because he had bruises all over his body, he needed a diaper, and Noah and Crystal had a pending CPS case involving their four other children.
Dr. Joseph Allen, with Texas Children’s Hospital, testified that David’s injuries would have been very painful, he would have suffered for a long period of time, and that he would have been exhibiting signs of distress up until the time of his death. Allen further testified that by the time of his death, David had bled out over 40 percent of his body’s blood volume into his abdomen and that “any normal functioning person that isn’t mentally handicap, and is around other human beings would have been able to tell that David was in immediate need of medical attention.”
Cristina Tijerina’s defense team asked the jury to sentence Tijerina to probation because she has a clear criminal history and because she is not a danger to society. Tijerina testified during the punishment phase of her trial that she only thought her grandson had a stomach virus.
Lead prosecutor Kelly Blackburn stated: “During the three years this little boy was alive, no one ever put his needs above their own. This is one of the most tragic cases I have ever handled and the conviction and sentence of all three of these individuals truly sends a message, that the most vulnerable of our society deserve our protection, and that there will be serious consequences for those that hurt children here in Montgomery County”.