A father pleaded no contest Monday to murdering his two-year-old daughter. The Floyd, Va. resident says he punched and strangled her to death in an attempt to exorcise the demon he believes possessed her.
“I know I am the one who hit her,” Eder Guzman-Rodriguez told police. “I was the only one there. The demon used my body to kill her.”
Guzman-Rodriguez, 30, who was sentenced to 20 years and 11 months in prison, claims that his daughter Jocelyn was motioning as if she wanted to fight, the evening of her death, November 23, 2011, reported The Roanoke Times.
“I didn’t mean to kill the baby,” he said. “I didn’t mean to choke her.”
Before attacking the baby, Guzman-Rodriguez beat, kicked and strangled his wife Carmen Nolazco unconscious so she could not prevent his “exorcism,” said prosecutor Stephanie Shortt.
The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office dispatched officers to the family’s mobile home after receiving a call about the child’s death. Police saw several people holding bibles outside on the deck upon arrival.
Inside, Nolazco was crying on a couch with visible injuries across her face, head and chest. Jocelyn was wrapped in a blanket in the master bedroom where Bibles and other religious books were scattered throughout, according to Shortt.
At Monday’s hearing, Nolazco fled the courtroom when Shortt described the child’s injuries: fractured ribs, scrapes, bruises on a lung and bleeding. Nolazco, who still supports her husband, had already gone “off the deep end” when she had to go through the autopsy report, according to defense attorney Jonathon Venzie.
“She believes it was the devil,” Venzie said.
After serving his sentence, Guzman-Rodriguez will be deported to his home country of Mexico because he is not a citizen.
Read more: NY Daily News