Victim's Mother Also Facing Charges
POSTED: 6:15 pm CDT March 15, 2010
RACINE, Wis. -- A 40-year-old Racine man is accused of killing a 2-year-old boy, punching him because he was spilling his milk.
Manuel Garcia made an appearance in Racine County Court on Monday.
Investigators said Garcia lost his temper with his girlfriend's son, punching him numerous times in the abdomen on Thursday, killing him.
Family members said Jovani Martinez died early Friday at a Racine hospital, just hours after Garcia and his mother, Lawanda Martinez, 25, brought him in.
Police later interviewed Garcia at his Racine home, and according to the criminal complaint, he admitted punching the boy at least three times because the child was quote "frustrating him" and spilling his milk.
Martinez is charged with child neglect resulting in death. Prosecutors said she largely ignored the boy's injuries and symptoms until it was too late.
"He was dizzy, he wasn't responding to nothing. I kept telling her to take him to the hospital," Martinez's mother, Wanda Williams, said.
Williams with Martinez and the child before he died. She said that although she doesn't blame her for his death, she agrees Martinez should've taken him to the hospital right away.
She said she's upset and disappointed.
"Yes I am, because she should've listened to me and took him to the hospital. … She should've took him to the hospital like I asked her to do. But, she did not do, she did not do it," Williams said.
The boy's father was not in court on Monday. Earlier, he told the Racine Journal Times he had seen signs of abuse with the child, but didn't know how to report it.
A Racine couple is now charged in a deadly case of child abuse.
According to a criminal complaint filed Monday afternoon, 2-year-old Jovani Martinez was killed over spilled milk. His mother and her boyfriend are in the Racine County Jail charged in connection with his beating death.
The medical examiner found that 2-year-old Jovani Martinez died from perforated intestines, a lacerated liver and pancreas, and broken ribs.
40-year-old Manuel Garcia is charged with inflicting the fatal injuries.
According to the criminal complaint, Martinez admitted punching and throwing Jovani several times while babysitting him Thursday afternoon.
Martinez said he didn't mean to, but got angry because the toddler kept shaking his bottle and getting milk on his newborn sister.
In the young boy's death, Manuel Garcia, 40, the mother's live-in fiance or boyfriend, was arrested Friday. He is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Jovani Martinez, age 26 months.
Police said Garcia and the mother, Lawanda Martinez, both of 1918 Grange Ave., brought the unconscious boy to Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints hospital, 3801 Spring St., at about 12:30 a.m. Friday. The boy was pronounced dead about two hours later.
The Waukesha County Medical Examiner's Office, which handles autopsies for Racine County, determined that Jovani died of blunt force trauma injuries.
Jovani Martinez's father, Octavio Martinez, alleged Saturday that he saw signs of abuse of his son while the boy lived with Lawanda Martinez and Garcia.
Octavio, who was estranged from Lawanda, said they had two children together. By legal arrangement, Jovani lived with his mother, and their daughter, 3, lived with Octavio, a drywall laborer.
With his future sister-in-law, Martha Montes, acting as interpreter, Octavio said he had weekly visitation rights to see Jovani.
"There were times when he went to pick him up, and he would have bruises on his face," Montes said for Octavio, 31. "He would ask Mom about it, and she wouldn't give a reason."
Octavio said he often did not exercise visitation at those times because he was afraid Lawanda would try to blame him for the injuries - as she had in the past, the father said.
But once, Octavio said, he did pick up the boy when he had a large bump on his head and took him home and put medication on it.
Octavio never reported the injuries to authorities because he was not aware of how to do it, Montes said for the father.
I'm sorry no one protected you -- not even your dad.
Poor baby boy. All those people that knew he was being abused and they did nothing.
Another brutalized baby
Rest in peace, Jovani Martinez.
oh my HEAVEN did I read right, the father saw bruising etc and didnt take the baby because the mom might blame him for injuries????? so he would leave him there?!?!
never occured to him to take the child to the ER or police station?!?!
and grandma just stood there and told mom to take him to the hospital, here's an idea, take him yourself.
It's just infuriating - and so sad for the kids - that we're seeing so often that people *know* the kids are physical &/or sexually abused or neglected -- and NOBODY does ANYTHING!
Where did everybody's morals & ethics go? Where's even basic human decency??
I couldn't live w/ myself if I saw something like this going on & didn't report & report & report until someone listened.
His father saw the abuse but didn't know how to report it?
911 is a free call and they translate. When you know your child is being abused, you can take the ten minutes to figure out who to call.
Charge them all. Every single person that knew.
JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.
IMO The MOMSTER and her BOYFIEND Should get charged with 1st degree murder and the GrandMonster should be charged with Child Neglect leading to death and so should the father .If She knew he was hurt why didn't she call 911? Maybe he could have been saved if the grandmother just picked up the phone.This is INSANE a child was beaten to death because he shook milk on the POS child.I can just image the horror of Jovani's much to short life.As for the father sorry but he is responsible as well.If he took the child to the police as soon as he picked him up how could he have been blamed?I believe if you dig deeper he most likely is an ILLEGAL and that is the true reason he did nothing IMO.
Last edited by mikeysmommom; 03-16-2010 at 01:27 PM.
I Love You MOM 6/16/32 - 5/30/09
Justice for Travis 5/8/13
Justice For Emma
Stacey Barker - Guilty - Murder 1 - 5/24/11
25 to Life - Sentenced 6/17/11
Justice Denied for Caylee Marie Anthony
its not like we deport illeagals anymore though
Meanwhile, Lawanda Martinez was arrested and charged with possession of THC and a municipal commitment for retail theft. She was being held in the Racine County Jail on $528 bond.
I don't know if this poor baby could have been saved. IMO his death sentence was written on the day his mother chose to bring this pos into their home.
What 2 yo isn't going to spill milk?
The spilling milk wasn't the problem, the problem was this thug was looking for any excuse to beat on a baby that wasn't his.
Boyfriends and girlfriends are not Babysitters.
Just because you want to be with somebody does not mean they will take care of your children.
i dont buy that he 'punched him 3 times' either
I wish that some people would just admit they are selfish a-holes and don't want kids and wish to not care for their children. At that point surrender them to DHS, whatever. Foster care is alot better than death. or a better idea, start using this birht control people are talking about. it really works. I am so damn tired of this stuff!
This child must have suffered horribly and I am quite positive this is not the first time he has been abused. IDK how people do this while I sit and feel like crap when I punish my kids or put my kids in time out.
a few years ago i met a woman thru my now ex-bf and she had a baby just over one year old. the baby girl couldnt walk and didnt talk at all which is not typical. one day i held the baby for a very few mins and she clung to me for dear life. she was a very scared little girl. i didnt see bruises or other signs of abuse except that they only fed her formula and she was too old for that. one time i went to the store and bought toddler food for her but the mother said she didnt like it and i thought the mother was just too lazy and into her drugs to take the time to feed the baby right. easier to just give her a bottle to shut her up. when it was time for me to give the baby back to her parents she screamed like bloody murder and dug her little fingers into my arms trying not to go back to them. i will never forget that as long as i live! i am a mother and grandmother so i KNOW that a well cared for 1yr old will always choose mommy over a stranger. long story short, i couldnt just live my life knowing that little baby was was in danger and do nothing. within two weeks the parents were arrested and the baby taken into dhs custody. abuse was evident to investigators when the child was taken. i dont have contact with the ppl anymore so i dont know what has happened but i do know this, nobody has to just sit silent and do nothing! we can do something and keep on doing it until changes are made. thank you all so much for all you do here. these children need to have someone on their side because nobody else is!
"love is made of music and laughter" turtle
And for Christ sakes, the grandmother if she for whatever reason could not step in and take the child for help herself could have done something. An anonymous call to police would have sufficed, a 911 call, anything. The bio father saw signs of abuse and did not know what do do? are you kidding me?
Last edited by 2sisters; 03-16-2010 at 02:09 PM.
I dont know why of all the terrible cases recently this one had me shaking and sick to my stomach. I"d be in jail my dang self if I could get anywhere near mom, dad, stepdad, grandma....sick. SICK.
HOW. HOW do you see your baby bruised and hurting and just throw your hands up and go home? HOW?
From what it says above, the Father didnt report the injuries because he thought the ex wife would blame him. So this selfish guy gave HIS OWN baby back to be beaten some more until it killed him. Im sorry but his ignorance about knowing how to report it doesnt wash with me. He cared more about his pathetic self than saving the life of his son. POS. I'm pretty sure he would have been able to dial 999 if he was having a heart attack or needed some life saving treatment. Same he couldnt do the same for his little son.
A judge is expected to rule today, in the middle of a homicide trial, whether jurors may hear that a Racine man accused of killing a toddler confessed to police more than four years ago. Manuel Garcia, 44, is charged with reckless homicide in the 2010 death of Jovani Martinez, 2, his then-girlfriend’s youngest son. He’s accused of beating the boy for repeatedly spilling milk from his bottle...
Garcia faces a maximum of 40 years behind bars if convicted in Jovani’s death. His trial resumes this morning.
Lawanda Martinez was sentenced in February 2011 to four years in prison and another four years on extended supervision, the maximum punishment allowed, for child neglect. She was charged for failing to obtain care for her son.
The poor child did not have anyone to care for him and protect him...not even his mother...
It says ...for repeatedly spilling milk from his bottle...so I am guessing that he beat the poor boy on more than one occasion, and the child died after the last beating.
Hopefully Garcia will get the maximum as well, the horrible mother was charged for "failing to obtain care" I am guessing the child died after a while, because the mother did not seek medical help for him.
The poor child had no-one..
Manuel Garcia, convicted of killing a toddler who’d been in his care in early 2010, was given the maximum 40-year prison sentence Friday.
In September, a jury convicted Garcia, now 44, of first-degree reckless homicide for a beating that caused the death of 23-month-old Jovani Martinez, who had spilled milk on his baby sister.