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Man convicted in beating death of his girlfriend's 13-month-old son

A Compton jury Monday convicted a 24-year-old man of brutally beating a 13-month-old boy, who later died of his injuries, prosecutors said.

Rodrigo Hernandez was found guilty of two felony counts, second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death, said Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

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The jury deliberated for less than a day before announcing the decision.

Hernandez was caring for his girlfriend's son, Fernando Garcia, in the family's apartment near Compton when she was in an adjacent room on June 7, 2015.

At some point, family members reported to Fernando's mother that he was acting unusually, and he started to have seizures and his body was bruised, prosecutors said.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies responded to a call at the home and found Fernando was not breathing, according to sheriff's records reviewed by The Times.

His body was cold, with bruises in the shape of finger marks on his chest and abdomen, and a burn mark covering a portion of his leg, according to Department of Children and Family Services records obtained by The Times.

The boy was hospitalized and died about three weeks later.

The day the child was hospitalized, detectives arrested Hernandez on suspicion of child abuse.

At trial, representative from the coroner's office testified that the child had died from blunt-force trauma to his abdomen.

Witnesses told authorities that the boy was afraid of Hernandez and would cry when he was around, according to DCFS records.

Hernandez, whose attorney could not be reached for comment, is scheduled to return to a Compton courtroom May 11 for his sentencing. He faces up to 25 years to life in state prison.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.

Times staff writer Garrett Therolf contributed to this report.

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