Hattiesburg man sentenced to life in prison for child torture

By HASKEL BURNS,

A Hattiesburg man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being convicted of felony child abuse – in this case, the torturing of a child – and aggravated domestic violence.

On Monday, Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich sentenced 30-year-old Luis Migel Garcia-Lebron to life in prison for the count of felony child abuse and a term of 20 years in prison for the count of aggravated domestic violence. The aggravated domestic violence sentence will run consecutive to the felony child abuse sentence.

In a statement released Monday, 12th Circuit District Attorney Lin Carter said Garcia-Lebron physically tortured a 5-year-old boy and the boy’s mother.

“Today’s sentence of life plus 20 years by the court takes into account the heinous acts committed by Garcia-Lebron,” Carter said. “I would like to recognize the Hattiesburg Police Department for their investigation on this case and also Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center for providing outstanding victim services.

“My office will continue to prioritize the prosecution of violent criminals and seek justice on behalf of victims.”

On Jan. 15, HPD officers responded to a call regarding a women and a child with injuries. Upon arriving at the scene, police came into contact with 24-year-old Alesha Lugo and her 5-year-old son, and obtained emergency medical services for the victims. Investigators found the child had been tortured by Garcia-Lebron, who was Lugo’s boyfriend.

Documents from the District Attorney’s office state that Garcia-Lebron physically beat the child and used pliers to lacerate the boy’s upper lip. Garcia-Lebron attacked Lugo with multiple objects before strangling her.

The child was sent to Forrest General Hospital before being transported to Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson for further treatment. He and his 7-year-old brother were forensically interviewed by officials from Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center, who determined Garcia-Lebron was the abuser.

Garcia-Lebron’s trial began on Jan. 21 with two days of testimony, including that of Lugo, her two sons, and HPD officers. On Jan. 22, the jury returned a guilty verdict on both counts.