- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A federal appeals court has affirmed a South Dakota man’s conviction and 30-year prison sentence stemming from his daughter’s 2012 death.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday issued its ruling in the case against 37-year-old Mario Contreras. A federal jury convicted the former Waubay resident of second-degree murder in 2013 for killing his 2-year-old daughter by punching her in the head.

Medical evidence presented at trial showed the girl had 18 contusions to her head. Contreras has said his daughter fell off a chair and onto the floor on Jan. 9, 2012, two days before her death at a hospital.

Contreras in his appeal said prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to find him guilty of second-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt. The appeals court disagreed with Contreras and concluded “sufficient evidence exists to support” his conviction.

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