NEWTON, NC – A Conover man convicted of felony child abuse was sentenced to five to seven years in prison during Catawba County Superior Court on Monday, officials said.
Luis Alberto Villa-Campos, 27, of Conover was found guilty of felony child abuse inflicting serious physical injury three months ago, according to a Catawba County Superior Court news release.
Assistant District Attorney Lance Sigmon told Transylvania County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hunt the following information about the case in Catawba County Superior Court on Monday morning:
Villa-Campos believed he was the father of Ruby Hoard’s daughter for the first three months of the child’s existence.
However, a DNA test revealed that Villa-Campos was not the girl’s father. At some point prior to April 1, Villa-Campos said that he and Hoard, 27, of Conover, got into an argument over the DNA test while holding the child.
“They pulled on (the child),” Sigmon told Hunt. Sigmon added that it was as if Villa-Campos and Hoard were playing “tug-of-war” with the infant.
When Villa-Campos dropped off the infant at his mother’s house a few days later, his mother noticed that the infant’s leg was swollen. In addition, she wouldn’t stop crying.
Because of these factors, Villa-Campos’ mother decided to bring the three-month-old child to Catawba Valley Medical Center on April 1.
There, doctors determined that the child had two broken arms and one broken leg.
Due to the severity of the injuries, the child was later taken to Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.
Villa-Campos never checked on the child.
Sigmon said that Villa-Campos told detectives multiple stories about the incident.Villa-Campos’ attorney Shell Pearce disagreed with that assertion. Pearce told Hunt the following information about the case:
Without Villa-Campos’ testimony against Hoard, the state would not have been able to prosecute the case.
Additionally, Pearce argued that Villa-Campos’ intentions with the child were not malicious.
“He maintains it was an accident,” Pearce said to Hunt. “He did not mean to hurt the child.”
Sigmon argued that Villa-Campos needed to be given the maximum sentence for the crime.
“When someone like this defendant injures a helpless infant, not only does a message need to be sent to him in the form of a severe sentence, but that message needs to be noticed by the general public as well,” Sigmon said.
In the end, Hunt sided with Sigmon. District Attorney David Learner was pleased with the sentence.
“This will give Mr. Villa-Campos a long time to consider what he’s done,” Learner said in the news release. “It’s too bad we couldn’t give him twice as much time for harming a defenseless infant.”
Hoard is scheduled to appear in court on the charge of felony intentional child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury Sept. 21, according to the North Carolina Court System online calendar database.