BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Candace Cartagena has been found guilty of second degree murder for the death of her 8-year-old daughter, Bianca. Erie County Judge Thomas Franczyk made the ruling Monday afternoon.
The prosecution said Cartagena was in a jealous rage, and that her marriage and her relationship with her daughter Bianca were failing. They argued that Cartagena killed Bianca after she started spending more time with her father and his girlfriend. Bianca’s body was found in her mother’s East Amherst home in November 2010. Prosecutors say Cartagena smothered Bianca to death.
Defense attorney Joseph Terranova argued that was not the case. The defense’s only witness, a forensic pathologist, testified Bianca had a heart condition, and that is what killed her.
The forensic pathologist for the prosecution, Dr. Kim Collins, testified she believes Bianca’s heart was normal and her death was a homicide.
Judge Franczyk said he based his decision on the scientific evidence presented by the prosecution’s witnesses and said he did not believe the testimony presented by the defense that the child’s death was caused by a heart defect.
Cartagena will be sentenced August 26.
Prosecutors called Jonathon Arden, the defense’s only witness, “a hired gun” who was brought in to simply say what the defense wanted him to say.