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Heather Maria TRUJILLO

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - Investigators said Trujillo and Roberts were emulating the violent video game "Mortal Kombat"
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 6, 2007
Date of arrest: 12 days after
Date of birth: April 30, 1991
Victim profile: Zoe Garcia, 7 (her stepsister)
Method of murder: Blunt force injuries
Location: Johnstown, Weld County, Colorado, USA
Status: Pleads guilty. Sentenced to 18 years in prison on December 2, 2008
 
 
 
 
 
 

photo gallery

 
 
 
 
 

Weld County
District Attorney's Office

 

Affidavit

 
 
 
 
 
 

Teen gets 36 years in girl's "Mortal Kombat" death

By Monte Whaley - The Denver Post

January 19, 2009

A 19-year-old who bragged his hands were lethal weapons after he kicked and body-slammed a 7-year-old to death in 2007 was sentenced to 36 years in prison Friday.

Lamar Roberts pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in the death of Zoe Garcia. Roberts could have received a maximum of 48 years in prison, said Weld County district attorney spokeswoman Jennifer Finch.

Roberts was sentenced by Weld District Judge Marcelo Kopcow.

Roberts was apparently acting out the violent and popular video game "Mortal Kombat" when he attacked Zoe while babysitting her, Johnstown police said.

Zoe later died of "blunt force injuries," according to Dr. John Carver, who performed the autopsy.

Zoe had more than 20 bruises on her body, a broken wrist, bleeding and swelling in the brain and other internal bleeding, according to Carver.

Roberts and Zoe's sister, Heather Trujillo, were babysitting Zoe the night of Dec. 6, 2007, when the attacks occurred, according to police.

Trujillo, now 17, pleaded guilty to child abuse negligently causing death. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison, which will be suspended if she successfully completes six years in the state's youth-offender program.

Trujillo also agreed to testify against Roberts, who was using her as a "scapegoat" in the case, according to testimony at Roberts' preliminary hearing in July.

Police said Zoe asked Roberts to stop assaulting her before she blacked out.

But Roberts was too drunk to stop, police said.

Roberts also told acquaintances after Zoe's death that "his hands were registered lethal weapons," police said.

 
 

Child's death yields 18-year term

By Monte Whaley - The Denver Post

July 3, 2008

A teenage Johnstown girl who pleaded guilty to beating her 7-year-old stepsister to death in December was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison, which will be suspended if she successfully completes six years in the Department of Corrections Youthful Offender Service.

Heather Trujillo, 17, also must testify against the co-defendant in the case, 17-year-old Lamar Roberts.

Police say Trujillo and Roberts hit, kicked and body- slammed Trujillo's sibling, Zoe Garcia, on Dec. 6 while babysitting Zoe in her Johnstown home. Investigators said Trujillo and Roberts were emulating the violent video game "Mortal Kombat."

Trujillo pleaded guilty to child abuse negligently causing death. Both teens originally were charged as adults with child abuse resulting in death. Roberts is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing July 10.

 
 

Teen gets 18 years in "Mortal Kombat" death

By Monte Whaley -  The Denver Post

July 2, 2008

A teenage Johnstown girl who pleaded guilty to beating her 7-year-old stepsister to death in December was sentenced today to 18 years in prison, which will be suspended if she successfully completes six years in the Department of Corrections Youthful Offender Service.

Heather Trujillo, 17, also must testify against the co-defendant in the case, 17-year-old Lamar Roberts.

Police say Trujillo and Roberts hit, kicked and body- slammed Trujillo's sibling, Zoe Garcia, on Dec. 6 while babysitting Zoe in her Johnstown home. Investigators said Trujillo and Roberts were emulating the violent video game "Mortal Kombat."

Trujillo pleaded guilty to child abuse-negligently causing death. When police responded to Trujillo's home in Johnstown, Zoe was not breathing and she was later pronounced dead at North Colorado Medical Center.

The Weld County Coroner's Office ruled the death a homicide, declaring Zoe died from blunt-force injuries.

Both teens originally were charged, as adults, with child abuse resulting in death. Roberts is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing July 10.

 
 

Sister pleads guilty in "Mortal Kombat" death

By Monte Whaley -  The Denver Post

May 23, 2008

A 16-year-old Johnstown girl accused of beating to death her 7-year-old half-sister while playing a live-action version of the violent video game "Mortal Kombat" pleaded guilty in Weld County District Court today to child abuse negligently causing death.

Heather Trujillo, who was originally charged with the more serious felony child abuse, will now testify against the co-defendant in the case, 17-year-old Lamar Roberts, as part of her plea deal with prosecutors.

Roberts is charged with child abuse resulting in death. Both Trujillo and Roberts were charged as adults.

Trujillo and Roberts were arrested for the death of Zoe Garcia after the two told police they played "Mortal Kombat" with her. When Johnstown Police arrived at the home the night of the incident, they found Zoe not breathing, according to police reports.

She was later taken to Northern Colorado Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Garcia who was in the care of Trujillo and Roberts at the time of her death died from blunt force trauma, according to an autopsy report. She had apparently been hit and kicked several times.

Trujillo, who will be sentenced July 2, faces 12 to 18 years in prison. Roberts will appear for a preliminary hearing June 20.

Zoe's death was one of the cases examined by the state Department of Human Services this year. The department's investigation found local social service agencies fell short in many areas dealing with child abuse claims.

 
 

History of alleged abuse surfaces

Zoe Garcia's mother was the focus of complaints in two states before the girl's death.

By Mike McPhee - The Denver Post

December 23, 2007

The night a 7-year-old girl was killed while left alone with two teens and younger siblings was not the first time Zoe Garcia was placed in questionable circumstances.

Court records in New Mexico and neighbors there and in Colorado suggest that Dana Trujillo has a history of accusations of neglect and abuse of her children.

Zoe died the night of Dec. 6 in her home, allegedly after a beating by her older half-sister and the 16-year-old's boyfriend, who were supposed to be caring for Zoe and her twin 3-year-old sisters while the mother, 30, worked in a bar five blocks away.

Heather Trujillo and her boyfriend, Lamar Roberts, 17, are in custody on one charge each of child abuse resulting in death.

They appeared in court Friday and were ordered to be held on bond of $100,000 each.

The Weld County Department of Social Services removed the 3-year-old twins from the family after Zoe's death. Neighbors and school teachers say the department ignored at least five complaints about the mother's treatment of her children. The department refuses to comment.

"Social services in Greeley should have done something a long time ago," said Zoe's father, Anthony Garcia, 28, of Sacramento, Calif. "New Mexico child services took the kids away twice, then gave them back. Here, they did nothing."

History of complaints

The mother, Dana Trujillo, 30, has had six children with four fathers, said Garcia.

Heather's father is unknown. A son, now 12, was fathered by another man, and the two live together in Socorro, N.M. Garcia fathered a 9-year-old girl, who lives with him in California, and Zoe.

Another man is the father of the young twins, according to Garcia. That man had been living with Trujillo and the girls in Johnstown until he was arrested Dec. 3 for escaping from jail earlier this year, Garcia said.

"It's been going on a long time. I guess it just got worse," Garcia said Friday.

Outside court Friday, Trujillo acknowledged that Weld County social services workers had contacted her once after a complaint from school about a bruise found on Zoe.

She said the workers were satisfied that the bruising was the result of normal playing.

"My life was turned upside down in a flash of an instant," Trujillo said. "It's so hard because I already lost one baby, and now I'm losing another."

Trujillo could not be reached for further comment.

Authorities in Socorro, N.M., filed three counts of abandonment or abuse of a child against Trujillo in November 2003.

The complaint states that Trujillo left her children Heather, Zoe and the 9-year-old, who now lives with Anthony Garcia, in the house with a babysitter and didn't return that night.

A neighbor complained the next day, and police went to the house with the paternal grandmother of the Garcia girls and woke up the babysitter in the back bedroom. The girls said they hadn't eaten or bathed that day.

The girls were removed from the home twice, according to Garcia, and then returned to the mother.

"She was already dead."

Garcia and Trujillo, who had been living together for five years, agreed to separate. Garcia received custody of the now 9-year-old and the couple were to share custody of Zoe.

In March 2004, Trujillo failed to appear for a court hearing on the abandonment charge, and a warrant for her arrest was issued in April 2004.

Garcia, a commercial photographer, said he spent three years looking for Trujillo and Zoe. He said that on Dec. 6 or 7, around the time Zoe died, he received a call from the Boulder court system that he and Trujillo would have a custody hearing by telephone on Dec. 10.

"They (Boulder) should have known something," he said. "She was already dead."

Garcia said he hopes to view his daughter's body today.

Services will be held next week in Johnstown, he said, adding that no time has been set. The couple expects to go to court over where Zoe's ashes will be scattered or buried, he said.

 
 

Sister, boyfriend in court in 7-year-old's death

By The Associated Press

December 21, 2007

GREELEY A teenage girl and her boyfriend made brief appearances court today on charges of beating her 7-year-old half-sister to death while imitating the "Mortal Kombat" video game.

Heather Trujillo, 16, glanced briefly back at her mother after a judge ordered her and Lamar Roberts, 17, to remain in jail in lieu of $100,000 bail each.

Roberts held back tears after a brief discussion with the judge.

Both face charges of fatal child abuse in the Dec. 6 death of Zoe Garcia and are being prosecuted as adults.

The judge also ordered them not to have any contact with each other if they are released.

They could face 16 to 48 years in prison if convicted.

It wasn't immediately clear who their attorneys will be.

The Weld County Public Defender's Office said it is representing one of the teens but declined to say which.

An arrest-warrant affidavit said the teens kicked, karate-chopped and body-slammed slammed Zoe while imitating the video game at the home of Heather's mother, Dana Trujillo, in Johnstown, about 35 miles north of Denver.

The coroner said Zoe died of blunt-force injuries. An autopsy showed that she had a broken wrist, more than 20 bruises, swelling in the brain and bleeding in her neck muscles and under her spine.

Zoe lost consciousness and stopped breathing, and the teens tried reviving her before calling Dana Trujillo and 911, the affidavits said.

A witness told police that Roberts said Zoe had told them to stop wrestling. According to the affidavit, when the witness asked why they didn't stop, Roberts responded, "I don't know, I was drunk."

Dana Trujillo said after the hearing: "My life was turned upside down in a flash of an instant. It's so hard because I already lost one baby, and now I'm losing another."

Her sister, Erika Hoffman, said county social services had taken Trujillo's twin daughters after Zoe's death.

"It's just torn the family apart," she said.

Hoffman said Trujillo loved her children, and she doesn't believe Trujillo would put them in danger.

Zoe's father, Anthony Garcia, said he and Dana Trujillo had joint custody of Zoe but that he had just discovered her whereabouts after a three-year search. He said he learned of her death Dec. 7.

"I didn't believe it," Garcia said. "I was working on getting papers for the custody of Zoe."

Jessy Golden, who lives near Dana Trujillo in Johnstown, said she contacted the Weld County Department of Social Services within the past few months when Zoe told her that a couch had fallen on the head of one of the twins.

Judy Griego, director of county social services, said state law prohibits her from discussing the situation.

 
 

"Mortal Kombat"-style beating led to 7-year-old's death, charges say

By Mike McPhee - The Denver Post

December 20, 2007

A 17-year-old Westminster boy and his 16-year-old girlfriend have been charged with killing her 7-year-old sister by practicing video-game-style martial arts on the child until her neck muscles bled and her brain swelled.

Heather Trujillo of Johnstown and her boyfriend, Lamar Roberts, each were being held Wednesday on $100,000 bond, charged as adults with one count each of child abuse resulting in death.

According to the arrest affidavit, the teens were babysitting Heather's sister, Zoe Garcia, on Dec. 6 while the girls' mother, Dana Trujillo, 30, was at work at a bar.

Roberts, 6 feet tall and 175 pounds, boasted to a friend that he was a martial-arts expert. He admitted being drunk that night, body-slamming the girl and kicking her in the chest so hard she didn't get up, according to the arrest affidavit. Heather Trujillo acknowledged wrestling viciously with her sister during a battle she called "Mortal Kombat," after the popular video game.

Next-door neighbor Laura Valdivieso said Zoe was "a beautiful little girl. She made friends with everybody."

 
 

Sister charged in "Mortal Kombat" death of 7-year-old

Sister and boyfriend charged in death of Johnstown girl

By Mike McPhee - The Denver Post

December 19, 2007

Johnstown - A quiet, working-class neighborhood in this small town 40 miles north of Denver quickly became distraught over the news of the death of a popular 7-year-old girl, who allegedly died from abuse by her older sister and her boyfriend.

Zoe Garcia, who was described as "a beautiful little girl", died on Dec. 6 from "blunt force trauma" to her brain and central nervous system, according to the Weld County Coroner. Her right wrist was broken, her body had more than 20 bruises, her neck muscles were bleeding and a skin flap near her tongue had been torn.

Zoe's older sister, Heather Trujillo, 16, and her boyfriend, Lamar Roberts, 17, of Westminster, were arrested Tuesday and charged with child abuse resulting in death, a Class II felony. They are in custody, each being held on $100,000 bond.

According to the arrest affidavits, Trujillo told investigators she and Roberts were babysitting Zoe and her twin, 3-year-old sisters, while their mother worked at the Corral Bar about five blocks away.

Trujillo said they were acting out the video game "Mortal Combat" by savagely hitting and kicking Zoe, even dropping her on her side, which broke her wrist. Roberts, who claimed to be a martial-arts expert with his hands registered as "lethal weapons, said Zoe had asked him to stop hitting her but that he didn't because "...I was drunk."

Roberts said he had performed a back kick on her, then kicked her again as she ran toward him. She fell back and didn't get up. She had stopped breathing, and Trujillo and Roberts waited 15 minutes before calling for help.

They said they put her in a bath, which temporarily revived her, but that she stopped breathing again. Roberts said he cracked an egg in her mouth "to see if she was messing around with them."

The egg went down her throat, the affidavit stated.

Finally, the mother and paramedics were called. Zoe was taken to the Northern Colorado Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

One neighbor said she suspected Zoe was being abused and said she reported it to authorities before she died.

Rhonda Simonetti said she baby-sat Zoe and her twin sisters twice, for four days each time, when she noticed bruises on Zoe.

"The first time I asked her, she said she fell down the stairs," Simonetti said. "The second time, she started crying and said Lamar had been hitting her."

Simonetti said she took a day off to report the abuse but never heard back.

Gloria Romansik, an administrator with Weld County Social Services, said today she could not comment on the case.

The mother, who has since moved out of the house, could not be reached. The owner of the bar, Jairo Landeros, said the mother still worked there but wouldn't be back until New Years Eve.

Landeros is the father of Nikko Landeros, the Berthoud wrestler who lost his legs in an automobile accident. Landeros bought the Corral Bar earlier this year, after a fundraiser for Nikko was held there.

Neighbors describe the Trujillo family, who moved into the quiet, working-class neighborhood last April as "combative."

"They didn't fit in," said next-door neighbor, Laura Valdivieso. "They were noisy and disruptive."

She said Zoe was "a beautiful little girl, she made friends with everybody. I gave her a jumprope, which she used almost every single day."

John Valdivieso said Zoe once asked him for some bread, which he understood to mean she was looking for food to eat. He gave her half a loaf.

"When the police came to tell us she had died, my wife took it very hard. She started crying," he said. "Zoe helped me dig out some dandelions last summer. She was very sweet."

 

 

 
 
 
 
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