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Atascadero man who murdered his baby daughter sentenced to 31 years to life in prison

Natalia Brito, June 2007. Photo courtesy of Tony Rector, Natalia Brito's maternal grandfather.
Natalia Brito, June 2007. Photo courtesy of Tony Rector, Natalia Brito's maternal grandfather.

An Atascadero man who beat his 20-month-old daughter to death was sentenced to 31 years to life in prison Monday.

Fermin Brito Palacios, 29, was convicted of second-degree murder, felony assault on a child younger than age 8 and child endangerment on Sept. 10.

Brito Palacios' daughter, 20-month-old Natalia Brito, died June 24, 2007, at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.

Brito Palacios told police that he bound and gagged Natalia in the closet of a Shell Beach apartment where his wife and child sometimes stayed before he moved to a new residence in Atascadero, investigators testified.

During the trial, the county-contracted medical examiner and an emergency room doctor testified that multiple blows caused the girl's death.

Also during the trial, prosecutors showed portions of Palacios' police interviews, which were translated from Spanish and accompanied by English subtitles.

In them, Palacios admitted to keeping the girl in a closet under a pillow and a suitcase and striking a blow to the girl's chest on the day of her death.

Investigators said Palacios also admitted to physically abusing the girl, using marijuana and cocaine and told investigators he was responsible for her death.

Brito Palacios pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

The girl's mother, Arriane Merce Brito, faces a separate trial, which has not yet begun, in connection with the baby's death.

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