- Associated Press - Thursday, December 7, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Jurors have convicted a western Michigan man in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son.

A Kent County jury reached the verdict Thursday, finding 29-year-old Elis Ortiz-Nieves guilty of felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the June death of Giovanni Mejias in Gaines Township near Grand Rapids.

A medical examiner said Giovanni suffered significant blunt-force trauma that resulted in a 4-centimeter tear in his abdominal tissue and a puncture in his bowels, causing him to die of internal bleeding. Authorities say Ortiz-Nieves claimed Giovanni was sick and he tried to get the boy to vomit by poking at his stomach.

Six other children were removed from the home. Authorities say Ortiz-Nieves cared for the children while his girlfriend worked.

His sentencing hearing was scheduled for Jan. 11.

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