Defendant Absent When Convicted in Child's Death

A 48-year-old San Antonio man has been convicted of a lesser charge of reckless injury to a child for the death of his 3-year-old adopted daughter but skipped court and wasn't present for the verdict.

Matthew Aranda is now a fugitive and his $250,000 bond has been revoked.

Jurors could have convicted him Wednesday of murder. Instead, they convicted on the lesser charge that's also a felony. Aranda could get up to 20 years in prison.

The San Antonio Express-News reports jurors weren't given an explanation for the empty chair where Aranda has been sitting during his trial for the 2009 death of Melody Velasquez.

Aranda contended the child fell down some carpeted stairs. Evidence showed more than a dozen fractures and bruises over her body.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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