GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A jury has convicted a man in the 2015 death of his young cousin.
Roman Morales was found guilty of first-degree murder after a trial that lasted two weeks. The jury took just one day to deliberate. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Morales had recently been released from jail and had a ankle monitoring bracelet at the time. He had been staying with family members in a unit in the Green Gables Condominiums on South Sheridan in Lakewood.
It was just before noon on Sept. 21, 2015 when 2-year-old Donnie Ro’mello Romero was reported missing.
Court documents reveal the child was found later in a Tupperware-type container under a blanket and pillow inside his family apartment. He had an electrical or audio cord around his neck with marks on the skin and was bleeding.
Morales was the last to see the boy and had left on a bike shortly after Donny was reported missing.
When located, Morales told police he had been asked to watch the boy and told others he wanted give the boy a bath. He said the boy was coughing because swallowed something the wrong way and it was no big deal.
But after Morales was taken into custody police say the following conversation took place with his mother:
Roman: “I was told to do it.”
The mother replied: “He was just a little boy — he was innocent.”
Roman responded: “Don’t do this to me mom”
Witnesses also told police Morales had been a methamphetamine abuser, although they don’t know if he was on drugs at the time.
Others told investigators Morales had started acting strangely after a friend was murdered three years ago, he was depressed and began cutting himself, he believed the FBI and mob were after him and that horns were beeping in codes.