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Justina Morales
February 19, 1987 - December 31, 1995
Find A Grave Memorial
 

Denise Solero had a beautiful little daughter named Justina, unfortunately, she also had a live in boyfriend named Luis Santiago. Denise is reported to have been abused by Luis, unfortunately, so was Justina, which of course would eventually lead to Justina's death at the hands of Luis and not so surpassingly, Denise helped.

What could possibly have caused anyone to kill this beautiful eight year old child? Well, Justina said no when she was told to take a bath. Apparently, Luis thought that she was defying him enough that she deserved to be killed. Luis first tried to drown Justina and when she had the will to live and didn't die, he tried to beat her to death, still "defying" his wishes, he covered her face with a pillow, she was still able to survive so he laid on top of her, covered her face with duct tape. Denise had agreed that her child needed to die for being so defiant and while Luis tried to kill her daughter, she held Justina's hands and feet so that she would die. It took about two hours for Justina to die and it was reported that the last words she spoke to her mother, who was helping to kill her, were "Mommy, make me pretty".

Sadly, the couple next put Justina's body into the closet and later wheeled her through the streets of Brooklyn and in a parking lot in Park Slope, they dumped this precious Angel and her body would never be found. Justina was never missed and for 14 long months, no one knew that she had died. How is it that teachers and other people NEVER noticed this child was not at school and had not been seen or heard from in 14 months? A family member finally notified Police in 1997 that Justina had not been seen and they thought she was dead.

For what these two monsters did to this little girl, they should get life without parole, right? No so, a deal was struck between Denise Solero and the Brooklyn District Attorney that if she would testify against Luis, she wouldn't serve one day for what she helped him do to her daughter. Charles J. Hynes, the District Attorney, felt that he would not be able to convict Luis if Denise did not testify against him, since there was no body. Denise was given the deal that if she testified against Luis, he would recommend five years of probation for a charged of hindering prosecution. Charles  was running for Governor at the time and said that Denise reminded him of his own mother who  had been a battered woman. Oddly, there is a videotape of Luis confessing to what he did and admitting that he did it because she refused to take a bath. Denise got on the stand and told the entire, ugly story. Why would he even NEED Denise to testify, since Luis admitted what he did:

"A deal had to be made in order to establish the way in which Justina died"
Assistant District Attorney - barry Schreiber

WHY? If Luis confessed on tape, that's proof enough that he killed her. John M. Burke, lawyer for Luis, said that Police forced the video taped confession out of Luis. John tried to say that Detective Ivan Rivera had slapped Luis and choked him during questioning, Ivan said in court that he had not touched Luis. Judge Anne G. Feldman told the jury that just because a lawyer is able to ask questions, doesn't mean that what they say in those questions, happened. A juror had to be excused because he said in court that Denise had gotten off too easy and that the deal was in bad taste.

Luis Santiago was acquitted of murder charges, however, he was convicted of second degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence in December of 1997. Luis was sentenced to six and a half to 19 years in prison for what he did. Denise Solero was given what she was told, five years of probation and she was ordered not to have any contact with her two other children and should she become pregnant again, she was to notify the Probation Department.

This page was created on May 14, 2013
Death occurred in the state of New York

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