Jury convicts man again for murdering girlfriend's toddler in 2015

Published on December 14, 2022

John White Web Mug.jpg

GREELEY, Colo. (Weld County D.A.) – A Weld County man will spend the rest of his life behind bars, after a jury convicted him Tuesday of abusing and murdering a two-year old boy.

In 2016, a jury convicted John White of one count of first-degree murder, and one count of child abuse resulting in death, for killing his girlfriend’s toddler in May of 2015.

However, the conviction was overturned by the Colorado Court of Appeals in October of 2020 because of legal issues in the 2016 trial.

The Colorado Supreme Court chose not to review the Court of Appeals decision in June of 2021.

The victim, Michael “Mikey” Lara, died after suffering severe injuries, including bruises to his head and back, burns to his face and neck caused by a hair dryer, and an injury to his penis.

White, who was dating Mikey's mother at the time, was babysitting the boy while his mom was at work. He claimed the family's Pitbull knocked the boy down the mobile home's porch steps.

But medical examinations pointed to severe trauma that could not be associated with a fall. Toxicology reports also showed White was high on methamphetamine while babysitting Mikey.

After another trial, a new Weld County jury convicted White again on Tuesday afternoon of one count of first-degree murder, and one count of child abuse resulting in death.

“Twenty-four people from our community, across two jury trials, have now confirmed what we’ve always argued was the truth. That this defendant killed Mikey and that this was not an accident,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wrenn said at the sentencing hearing immediately following the verdict Tuesday afternoon.

Several members of the Mikey’s family, including his father, addressed the court during the sentencing hearing.

“Here I am sitting in front of you, begging and fighting, one last time,” Mikey’s father said to the judge while asking the court to impose the maximum sentence.

In addition to the mandatory life without parole sentence, the judge also sentenced White to the maximum sentence of 48 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for the child abuse resulting in death charge.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wrenn and Deputy District Attorney Ash McCuaig prosecuted this case. 

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