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Uncle sentenced to probation for infant nephew’s death

January 30, 2019

For a second time a San Benito man has been convicted of killing his infant nephew, but this time he was sentenced to probation.

Abraham Proenza, 39, was found guilty in 2013 of the 2008 death of four-month-old Aiden Javier Valdez. That jury sentenced him to 40 years in prison for the child’s death, but the conviction was reversed.

The 13th Court of Appeals agreed with Proenza that the judge in the first trial improperly commented on the weight of the baby among other things.

The baby was underweight and autopsy results concluded Aiden died of dehydration and malnutrition. The baby was found at the rural home on San Jerimias Road, near Calle Rancho Grande, in La Paloma.

The new jury in the 445th state District Court found Proenza guilty of a lesser crime and sentenced him to 10 years probation.

Prosecutors were upset with the new verdict.

“Even though I must respect this jury’s decision, I do not agree with it. I strongly believe that they made a terribly wrong decision. Baby Aiden, neglected and alone, starved to death. By their verdict of guilty, the jury found that Proenza recklessly caused the death of a 4 month old by failing to provide basic human nourishment and medical care. Despite this atrocious criminal conduct, the same jury decided that Proenza deserved probation,” said Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz.

Robert Partrick Rodriguez was the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case.

“The jury punishment verdict is outright outrageous, and denies Baby Aiden the justice in death that the defendant denied him in life.”

Proenza and his wife had planned to adopt Aiden and three other children at the time of the infant’s death.

dmaldonado@brownsvilleherald.com

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