A boy convicted of killing his baby sister could be released from a juvenile facility in as little as a year if he completes a treatment plan approved Friday by a judge.
Last month, a jury convicted Crystian Rivera, 14, of first-degree murder in the death of 9-month-old Linda Beletzuy.
The Oklahoma County panel rejected defense claims the girl was fatally injured in a fall from a bed, siding with prosecutors who argued Rivera shook her because she interrupted his violent video game.
The girl died Aug. 19, three days after she was hospitalized.
Her injuries included a fractured skull, swelling of the brain and bleeding around the brain.
Associate District Judge Richard W. Kirby adopted a treatment plan for the boy, who was prosecuted as a youthful offender and will avoid prison if he complies with a program administered by the office of juvenile affairs.
The judge warned the boy that failure to complete the treatment plan would land him in state prison, where he could serve a life sentence.
“You need to demonstrate that you … are doing the things to rehabilitate yourself,” Kirby said.
Rivera's attorney said the boy is on a waiting list for two different facilities where he would receive counseling and take anger management and academic classes.
The treatment plan typically takes 15-18 months to complete but can be finished in 12 months, attorney Cesar Armenta said.
“We're optimistic it could be less,” Armenta said.
Rivera is being housed in the juvenile justice center until he can find placement.
He wore a gray sweatshirt and khaki pants Friday and was flanked by his parents, who left the girl and another sibling with Rivera while they were at work.
The parents, Carlos Beletzuy-Lopez and Linda Walleska Beletzuy, are awaiting trial on child neglect charges.
“I don't think he fully understands what's taken place,” Armenta said of the boy, adding that he has matured since the girl's death and has goals that include attending college when he is released from custody.