Zion-Benton News

Zion teen father to be
sentenced for murder

By Ginny Skweres
Zion-Benton News staff

Victor Salinas-Corona, 18, appeared in court Monday on the charge of first-degree murder of his infant child. He admitted to killing his 5-month-old son, Ayden Salinas, by hitting his head against the crib because the baby wouldn't stop crying on Feb. 27.

The baby had stopped breathing and Zion Police and Rescue was called on Feb. 28. They took the baby to Vista East Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The autopsy revealed a crack nearly an inch long in the baby’s head. The parents were arrested the following day.

In a partially negotiated plea he admitted his guilt in exchange for dropping additional counts of murder and capping his sentencing at 30 years, Assistant States Attorney Jim Newman said. He was originally charged with two counts of first degree murder. He had also been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and no FOID card.

Ayden's mother, Aurora Escamilla, 20, of Beach Park, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment earlier and was sentenced to time served and was required to pay court costs. She did not take part in the beating but was present at the time and aware of previous abuse.

Judge Mark L. Levitt set Salinas-Corona's sentencing date for Oct. 20 at 1:30 p.m. in Court room 206.The judge will determine his sentence which will be between 20 and 30 years, and must be served in full.

Defense attorney Scott Gordon told the judge that Salinas-Corona has undergone a neuro-psychological exam but he has not seen the results of those tests yet.

Gordon later said Salinas-Corona had been jumped and beaten by a large number of men a few years ago, which is why the attorney had the analysis done.

"It may help in mitigation if he has issues that stem from that," Gordon said. "Everyone wants to ask 'Why?' If we can answer that question, it might even bring closure for some."

Salinas-Corona remains in the Lake County Jail in lieu of $2 million bond.