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Phoenix man gets prison in niece’s 2010 death

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in connection with the 2010 death of his young niece.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 49-year-old Leonard Orta Jr. was sentenced Friday.

They say he earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a plea agreement.

Orta was arrested in February 2010 after the body of 5-year-old Kaiya Kapahu was found in an apartment by her grandfather.

Authorities say Orta was the girl’s caregiver since July 2010 and she suffered from Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder that made her prone to seizures.

Orta was accused of intentionally withholding his niece’s medication and nutrition.

Investigators say Orta had been caring for the girl because the treatment she needed wasn’t available in Hawaii.


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