Jury: Kent County man guilty of 4-year-old’s murder

An undated courtesy photo of Giovanni Mejias.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) –- A Gaines Township man charged with murdering a 4-year-old boy is likely heading to prison.

A jury Thursday found Elis Nelson Ortiz-Nieves guilty of felony murder and first-degree child abuse in connection to the June death of his girlfriend’s son, Giovanni Mejias.

Photo: Elis Nelson Ortiz-Nieves in 63rd District Court in Grand Rapids Township Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017.

The boy’s mother testified in August that Giovanni was throwing up the day before he died. She said when she came home on a work break, she found the boy unresponsive.

Ortiz-Nieves reportedly told detectives when he found the boy stiff and unresponsive, he kept pouring water into his mouth. He also allegedly told detectives he was jabbing Giovanni in the stomach in an effort to get him to vomit.

However during the August hearing, a detective testified Ortiz-Nieves’ story changed.

The doctor in charge of Giovanni’s autopsy said the boy’s body showed a pattern of abuse. The doctor ruled Giovanni’s death was a homicide caused by severe blunt force trauma to his abdomen.

Ortiz-Nieves is expected back in court for sentencing Jan. 11, 2018.