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Judge Needs More Time to Decide Whether to Give Convicted Baby-Killer New Trial

Santos Loza was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend's baby boy but may get another trial.

Santos Loza. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
Santos Loza. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
A jury took only two hours to find a Plainfield man guilty of murdering his girlfriend's baby boy, but nearly six months later a Will County judge has yet to decide if he should get a new trial.

Santos Loza was returned to the county jail for another 18 days while Judge Sarah Jones considers whether he deserves a second shot at justice.

Loza, 33, was found guilty of murder after a September trial. He faces up to 100 years in prison.

Loza killed Kevion Bender, the 8-month-old son of his girlfriend, Sandra Sitko.

Loza and Sitko met on the Internet less than three months before Kevion was killed. After the meeting, Sitko traveled from her home in West Chicago to where Loza was living at the time in Joliet about three nights a week to have sex with him. She would bring along both Kevion and her older son, Dillon, when she made her trips to Loza's place.

Loza and Sitko were the only adults present in Loza's townhouse the night before Kevion was found lifeless on the floor where he had been put to sleep. Kevion suffered broken ribs, a fractured skull and numerous bruises before dying.

Loza was arrested in August 2010, nearly two years after Kevion died.

During a post-conviction hearing in February, Loza's attorney, Adam Altman, argued that his client was deprived of a fair trial when Judge Jones limited the questions that could be asked of the dead child's mother.

"We are entitled to attack the credibility of any witness,"  Altman said during the hearing.

While Jones put restrictions on what questions could be asked of Sitko, attorneys were still able to establish she continued her sexual relationship with Loza after her son's death.

Sitko even admitted on the witness stand that she carried on sexually with Loza for months after Kevion was killed but claimed she did so in an attempt to find out how her baby died.

Another of Loza's attorneys, Joseph "Shark" Lopez, mocked Sitko's explanation during the trial, saying, "I'm going to crack the case by having sex with Santos."

"Are you kidding me?" Lopez scoffed. "Really?"

Jones was scheduled to make her decision Monday but will instead review transcripts of Sitko's testimony and hand down her ruling April 4.

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Ericus Alanas March 18, 2014 at 09:40 AM
How could this judge even stay in office without giving the defense a chance to question the credibility of a witness. Its just giving this baby-killer more chances...
jolietkenny March 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Does the Baby get a second chance?

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