Greeley dad convicted of lesser charge in 2015 death of 4-month-old son
December 12, 2018
A Greeley man was convicted this week in the 2015 death of his 4-month-old son.
Nathan Archuleta, 34, was found guilty Monday by a Weld County jury of one count of child abuse negligently causing death, a Class 3 felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison. The conviction was one notch below the original charge of child abuse knowingly or recklessly causing death, which is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 24 years in prison.
During opening statements last week, Greeley attorney Keith Coleman argued Archuleta didn’t know his son, Donovan, was in such dire need of medical attention before his death. Archuleta worked the swing shift at Walmart, Coleman said, staying until late at night and often sleeping in the following morning. He trusted family, notably his mother, Sandy Archuleta, and Angelica Chavez, Donovan’s mother, to raise the boy.
That story apparently held some weight with the jury, which returned a conviction on a lesser charge following about four hours of deliberations. Weld District Court Judge Julie Hoskins then revoked Archuleta’s bond and ordered him incarcerated at the Weld County Jail until his sentencing hearing, which takes place at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 19.
The conviction stemmed from a report the night of Aug. 2, 2015, of a child who was not breathing at an apartment in the 2800 block of 28th Street. When officers arrived, they found a baby with what looked like chemical burns to his face, bruises on his body, pinch marks caused by tweezers, broken ribs and a torn frenulum, the piece of skin that connects the lips and tongue to the gums. A medical examiner later deemed the boy also suffered from pneumonia, kidney failure and dehydration, and died from sepsis, or the presence of harmful bacteria in his body.
Archuleta pleaded not guilty in August 2017 by reason of impaired mental condition. Coleman noted at one point during his opening statement that Archuleta was in special education growing up.
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Chavez also was charged with child abuse knowingly or recklessly causing death. She was the first to go to trial and also was convicted of a lesser charge in March 2017. She is out on bond pending appeal of an eight-year prison sentence, the minimum for a Class 2 felony.