For the second time, the Florida Supreme Court has reversed the conviction and death sentence for a Miami mother accused of starving, torturing and beating her toddler son known as “Baby Lollipops.”
The state’s high court — citing repeated “inflammatory” closing arguments by the case’s prosecutors — on Thursday reversed the conviction of Ana Maria Cardona.
“As we have stated for decades, we expect and require prosecutors, as representatives of the state, to refrain from engaging in inflammatory and abusive arguments, to maintain their objectivity, and to behave in a professional manner,” the court ruled in a 6-1 decision.
In 2010, Cardona was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 3-year-old Lazaro Cardona.
The boy, badly beaten and weighing just 18 pounds, was discovered dead in the bushes of a Miami Beach bayfront home in November 1990. Unidentified at first, Lazaro was dubbed Baby Lollipops for the design on his T-shirt.
Prosecutors said Cardona physically abused Lazaro over months, eventually dumping his bloodied body before fleeing with her lover to the Orlando area.
In Thursday’s opinion, the Florida Supreme Court wrote that prosecutors “presented sufficient evidence” to support the guilty verdict and the death sentence. Story here.