Life sentence without parole sought for man accused in girl's beating death

Carmen Ellis
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The man accused of beating a young girl to death could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says he's filed a request for a life sentence without parole against José Cruz.

Cruz has been charged with one count of murder in the August death of three-year old Carmen Ellis.

At least one "aggravating factor" must be proven for this type of sentence. In this case, Curry says there are two: Carmen Ellis was tortured while she was alive and that she was less than 12 years of age at the time of her death. That's according to the prosecutor's office.

In 2011, the prosecutor's office established a procedure to evaluate the circumstances for capital punishment or life without parole. That includes an analysis of the case, follow-up with homicide detectives, and consultation with family members.

Cruz' next court appearance is Oct. 24.

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