KINGMAN — Parents charged in a Lake Havasu city toddler homicide case were to enter plea agreements Tuesday, but the effort derailed when Andrew Lamorie, 24, contested portions of the factual basis provided to justify his guilty plea.
Lamorie and Brittany Rodriguez, 27, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of their 27-month-old daughter almost 30 months ago.
Lamorie pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder in the first change of plea proceeding scheduled before Judge Billy Sipe. Terms of the deal required the judge to impose a 10- to 16-year prison term at sentencing.
Prosecutor Jacob Cote told the Court that an autopsy concluded that Gabriela Lamorie died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck and of severe malnutrition. She weighed just 17 pounds on the day of her death at a Las Vegas hospital, according to defense attorney Robin Puchek.
Puchek told Sipe that the couple told investigators that they “don’t believe in doctors” and had not taken their daughter in for medical checkup in 15 months, though he said they had both been advised that she should see a doctor at least every other month.
Cote said Gabriella had been crying when Lamorie put her into a closet and Rodriquez took a shower. He said by the time she got out of the shower, Lamorie presented a listless and unresponsive daughter to her mother.
“We will never know exactly what happened to the child in the closet. The state’s theory is that Lamorie was far more responsible than Rodriguez and did something to the child in the closet that caused the blunt force trauma,” the prosecutor said. “The defendant acted with extreme indifference toward the life of his child by not properly feeding the child and not taking the child for necessary medical care.”
Lamorie appeared for the hearing by video conference from the jail. Portions of his comments to the court were inaudible, but it was clear he conceded guilt for feeding and care but denied he ever struck his daughter.
“I feel like I failed and I failed to get my kid help, but I didn’t hurt anybody,” he said.
Sipe said he could not accept the guilty plea if Lamorie would not admit facts of the case offered by attorneys. He encouraged attorneys to try to resolve the plea agreement issues before the status hearing he scheduled June 15.
Terms of the deal proposed for Rodriguez were not unveiled in court. When her hearing began, Legal Defender Ron Gileo asked for a continuance because he said she wanted Lamorie to accept responsibility first before she entered her agreement.
The Rodriguez change of plea hearing was rescheduled for July 6.