A Sahuarita couple indicted on five counts each of child abuse in December have entered a plea agreement.
Nicholas Murrieta, 23, and Dominique Rodriguez, 21, each pleaded guilty to child abuse, circumstances not likely to cause death or serious injury in Pima County Superior Court Monday.
The couple are expected to be sentenced Sept. 18. If placed on probation, they would have to serve somewhere from 10 years to lifetime probation. If sentenced to prison, they could serve a minimum of four months or up to two years, said Deputy Pima County Attorney Dawn Aspacher.
The couple was accused of exposing two children to methamphetamine and “unsafe and unsanitary living conditions,” Deputy Pima County Attorney Alan Goodwin said at the time of their indictment. They were also accused of causing bruising to one of the children’s face, forehead, left eye, back and buttocks.
Sahuarita Police officers were summoned to the area of Country Club and Irvington roads in Tucson around 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 by a Tucson Police officer, SPD Sgt. Michael Falquez said.
Murrieta told Tucson officers he was taking his child to the hospital when the boy became unresponsive and he pulled over to give him CPR, Falquez said. The boy was taken to Banner University Medical Center and is expected to recover.
Officers observed bruises on the boy’s face and body, and a woman who had stopped to help told officers Murrieta prevented her from pulling up the boy’s shirt, Falquez said.
During a search of the couple’s home in the 15000 block of South La Villita Road, detectives discovered it had no electricity and had animal feces throughout, the sergeant said.
Murrieta and Rodriguez, the boy’s mother, were booked into jail on the night of their arrest, but subsequently released.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety was notified of the case, Falquez said.