In California in 1991, Vicente Benavides took his eyes off the young child he was babysitting for a few moments, and next thing he knew, he was being sentenced to death for raping and murdering her.
Now, after nearly a quarter of a century, he is being released from death row after it was determined that medical professionals gave false testimonies during the trial, which led to his conviction. A free man for the first time in 25 years, Benavides won’t have to face a retrial.
If you’d like to see footage from his release and learn more about his exoneration, check out the video below:
Benavides, now 68-years-old, says he was babysitting 21-month-old Consuelo Verdugo and her nine-year-old sister while their mother, who was also his common-law partner, was at work.
He claims he took his eye off Consuelo for about 15 minutes. When he found her, he says he does not know exactly what happened but she was outside, unconscious and injured with severe injuries to her abdomen.
She was rushed to the hospital where it was determined she had massive internal damage to her body. Sadly, she died from her injuries a week later.
At the time, he and his girlfriend told hospital staff that she fell and hit her head. However, a forensic pathologist claimed that Consuelo had been sodomized and died as a result of anal injuries. Benavides was quickly arrested and charged with rape and murder.