MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida mother has been found guilty of torturing and murdering her three-year-old son 27 years ago.
It was the third trial for Ana Maria Cardona, 56, in what became known as the “Baby Lollipops” case.
Cardona has been sentenced to life in prison.
“There are wild beasts that show more empathy for their offspring than you showed for Lazaro and the jury having found you guilty on count one, I sentence you to life in prison,” said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Miguel de la O.
Lazaro Figueroa was known as “Baby Lollipops” because of the T-shirt he was wearing.
The little boy’s emaciated body was discovered in the bushes of a Miami Beach neighborhood in 1990.
“I do know that regardless of what your faith is, you will not be meeting Lazaro in the afterlife. Your actions were monstrous. My mind recoils at the hellish existence you put Lazaro through that last year of his life,” said Judge de la O.
It is the third time a jury has found Cardona guilty.
She was sent twice to death row but the Florida Supreme Court overturned her convictions. This time around, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
After stern words from the judge, Cardona continued declaring her innocence yet again.
“I didn’t kill my son,” said Cardona through a Spanish translator as she addressed the judge. “I did not torture my son. I did not abuse my son. You don’t believe me. Maybe you don’t feel my pain. Nobody can love my son more than I do.”
Cardona has given several accounts of what happened to her son over the years.
When she took the stand, she said the real killer was her former girlfriend Olivia Gonzalez.
Gonzalez took a plea years ago and has already served her time.
Prosecutors urged the jury not to believe Cardona’s lies. After Cardona’s words in court, the judge made one final statement.
“Ms. Cardona, for the rest of your life you can sit in jail and tell yourself whatever you want to say. I don’t have any doubt that this jury got it right just like the other two juries,” said Judge de la O.