Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: Whatever happened to Robert Vela? He was accused of killing his infant son at his parents' home in the Pocket area. I think it was in the late '90s.
Submitted by: Grammy G., Sacramento
ANSWER: A Sacramento County jury convicted Robert Ramirez Vela Jr. of second-degree murder in the 1996 death of his 1-year-old son, Daniel Vergos.
Vela was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
According to stories in The Bee, the child died of a massive skull fracture May 20, 1996.
An autopsy revealed that the boy had toxic levels of prescription drugs in his blood. The prosecutor said the drugs, which included codeine, were of such high doses that they alone would have killed him.
During the trial, Vela said he accidentally bumped his son's head against a wall when he was rocking the boy. The prosecution, however, presented evidence showing that the child's head injuries were so severe they were equivalent to a fall from a building several stories high.
Now 37 years old, Vela is in Avenal State Prison in Avenal.
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