Sunnyside resident Jorge Baque, 36, was arrested late November in connection with the July death of his five-month-old infant daughter, Alaia Baque. Baque has stated that the infant’s death was caused by a spiritual ritual intended to rid her of an “evil eye.” Baque is being charged with assault, child endangerment, and murder for his suspected role in the infant’s death. Our Queens assault lawyers examine Baque’s case – and the penalties he may face if convicted – in closer detail.
Sunnyside, Queens Man Arrested for Homicide Death of Infant Daughter
Queens resident Jorge Baque was arrested on November 22 for the suspected murder of his infant daughter, Alaia. The girl’s death, which was ruled a homicide by the city Medical Examiner, was caused by traumatic head injuries including eight skull fractures, bruising, and hemorrhaging in one eye.
According to police, Baque was the only person with Alaia when the injuries occurred.
According to Baque’s wife, Yessenia Sasso, who has since separated from Basque, she heard the infant crying on the night of her death, and discovered Baque holding the infant’s face against his chest. She told police she returned to bed after telling Baque to hold the infant in a different position.
According to Baque himself, the injuries were inflicted by a voodoo priestess who, during a ritual meant to cleanse an “evil eye,” reportedly swaddled the baby and rolled her on the floor of Baque’s Sunnyside apartment. Baque told investigators he discovered the infant dead in her crib around 6:30 A.M. on the morning of July 30, having placed her there around 2:30 A.M. Baque rushed her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Prosecutors have termed the injuries “abusive head trauma.” Baque, said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, is now “accused of causing severe head injury, bleeding on her brain and severe hemorrhaging in the back of her eyes.”
Second Degree Murder, First Degree Assault, Child Endangerment Charges for Defendant
Baque has been charged with three offenses:
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
- First Degree Assault
- Second Degree Murder
Second degree murder, a Class A-I felony under NY Penal Law § 125.25, is obviously the most serious among the allegations faced by Baque, carrying a sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison. There are several reasons a person can be charged with this offense, which include:
- Intentionally causing someone’s death.
- Recklessly causing someone’s death under circumstances that show a “depraved indifference to human life” by acting in a way that “creates a grave risk of death to another person.”
The distinction between recklessness and intent is very important in criminal law. Recklessness involves acting with disregard for unjustifiable risks, whereas intent means acting on purpose. A person who causes death recklessly will not, for example, be convicted of first degree murder, which necessarily involves acting with intent. However, a person who acts intentionally may be charged with first or second degree murder, depending on the circumstances.
First degree assault, a Class B felony prosecuted under NY Penal Law § 120.10, also carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. A person is charged with this form of assault when he or she:
- Intentionally causes injury with a deadly weapon (which can also lead to weapons charges).
- Intentionally causes serious and permanent disfigurement by causing permanent disability, organ damage, or an amputation injury.
- Recklessly acts with indifference to life in a way that creates a serious risk of death, resulting in serious injury.
- Seriously injures someone while committing, trying to commit, or fleeing from the scene of a felony.
Endangering the welfare of a child – an offense commonly referred to as child endangerment – is a Class A misdemeanor under NY Penal Law § 260.10, subject to a maximum sentence of one year in jail. A person can be charged with this crime, as Baque has been, if he or she “knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical… welfare of a child less than 17 years old.”
Baque pleaded not guilty in Queens Criminal Court. Defense attorneys have questioned Baque’s guilt by pointing to Sasso’s presence in the apartment on the evening of Alaia’s death.
Queens Criminal Defense Lawyers Handling Violent Crimes
Violent crimes like assault and homicide are among the most serious offenses a defendant can be charged with, particularly in cases that involve children. If someone you love was arrested for hate crimes, domestic violence, homicide, or other violent offenses in New York City, representation by a highly skilled and experienced Queens criminal defense attorney is essential.
At the law offices of Sullivan & Galleshaw, we handle felony and misdemeanor criminal charges throughout the borough of Queens, including Astoria, Bayside, Briarwood, Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, Hollis, Howard Beach, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Long Island City, Ozone Park, Rego Park, St. Albans, Sunnyside, and many other neighborhoods. Contact our Flushing criminal defense lawyers or our Bayside defense attorneys at (800) 730-0135 to talk about your case in a free and confidential legal consultation today.