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Iowa man sentenced to life in prison for death of toddler

Joe Anthony Lopez photo from Polk County Jail

Joe Anthony Lopez photo from Polk County Jail

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Clive man convicted of murder in the 2014 death of his girlfriend’s toddler has been sentenced to life in prison.

Joe Anthony Lopez, 26, was sentenced by a Polk County District judge Friday, the Des Moines Register reports. He was found guilty in May of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in the death of 20-month-old Ruby Alvarez.

Police say the toddler was taken to a hospital on Nov. 29, 2014, with broken ribs and bleeding on the brain. She died four days later.

Prosecutors said Lopez squeezed and slammed the toddler into the concrete floor of a Clive apartment. Lopez maintained that the toddler fell from a high chair, but prosecutors said the child’s injuries were inconsistent with a fall.