A judge sentenced a former Tinker Air Force Base airman Wednesday to 80 years in prison for beating a child left in his care.
Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong gave Gabriel Solis 10 years for each of the eight broken ribs suffered by the 1-year-old boy.
“I found what you did unconscionable,” Truong said. “The two of you victimized a little boy.”
Solis, 31, of Del City, and his ex-wife, Elsa Solis, 30, were arrested in October 2010 after doctors found significant injuries to the child, whose mother was deployed in Saudi Arabia.
Elsa Solis was sentenced Nov. 30 to 35 years in prison for enabling the abuse of the boy, who was hospitalized after vomiting and having a five-minute seizure.
In addition to the broken ribs, doctors found other bones in various states of healing, as well as a lacerated liver, a punctured lung and bruising from head to toe. The boy had a bite mark on his left leg, prosecutors said in court papers.
Before being sentenced, Gabriel Solis read a rambling statement in which he denied injuring the boy, saying he did “whatever he could to bring Nicholas back to life” the night he was hospitalized.
Solis suggested the boy was injured while he performed CPR, adding that his ex-wife might have injured the child “unintentionally” en route to the hospital.
“I believe that Nicholas was properly cared for,” said Solis, who was fired in September by the Air Force. “This alleged incident never happened.”
Assistant District Attorney Pam Stillings said she found Solis’ remarks “repulsive.”
“This child was not properly cared for,” Stillings told the judge. “This defendant does not accept responsibility for these injuries.”
Before sentencing Gabriel Solis, Truong denied a request by his attorney to withdraw the Alford plea he entered in September on a child abuse charge.
Under an Alford plea, a defendant accepts a sentence for a crime while still asserting innocence. Solis admitted in court papers that sufficient evidence existed for a jury to convict him.
Defense attorney Michael McBride said Solis followed advice from a prior attorney “he was reluctant to follow” when he entered his plea.
Prosecutors told the judge Solis had what amounted to “buyer’s remorse” after learning Truong sentenced Elsa Solis to 35 years in prison.
McBride said he will appeal the sentence and the judge’s decision not to let Solis withdraw the plea and go to trial.
Eyvette Carbajal, the child’s mother, placed her son in the care of Gabriel and Elsa Solis and made them legal guardians before she left the base in Hawaii where she and Gabriel Solis had been stationed.
Carbajal, 23, is stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Wash., where she works as a police officer. She said this month her son, who is nearly 3, is “doing fantastic” and shows no lingering physical effects from his injuries.