Man pleads guilty to murdering girlfriend's 3-year-old child; sentenced to life in prison

David Gene Elliott (Photo courtesy Marion County Jail)

SALEM, Ore. – A 29-year-old was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter and hurting her other 5-year-old child.

David Gene Elliott pleaded guilty to Murder by Abuse and two counts of Assault on Friday, Sept. 30. He was sentenced to the presumptive life sentence with the chance of parole after the mandatory minimum of 25 years.

Elliott was the live-in boyfriend of Mercedes Alvarado, the Marion County District Attorney's Office said.

He admitted to hitting the three-year-old girl in the abdomen, which caused an injury that contributed to her death on April 15, 2013. Elliott also said he hurt his girlfriend’s 5-year-old child.

According to court records, the girl was found face down in the tub. She had been vomiting for three days straight after Elliott struck her in the abdomen. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, saying she died of “cerebral anoxia due to near drowning after blunt force abdominal trauma.”

Officials said Alvarado was in another room wearing noise-cancelling headphones when the girl died. The mother was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and is serving a 10-year sentence with the Department of Corrections.

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