Man to spend rest of life in prison after violent child-custody scheme

By From page A4 | October 13, 2012

Jose P. Romero

Jose P. Romero

FAIRFIELD — A bizarre child-custody effort by a diabolic father ended this week with the father being sentenced to life in prison for mutilating his young wife by carving a deep, bloody X into her back from her shoulders to her hips.

During a trial earlier this year, jurors heard the sordid details of a plot hatched by Jose P. Romero, 35, that included a series of staged violent attacks on his 19-year-old wife spanning four months in 2011 that left bruises, cuts and other injuries that she told police had been from Romero’s ex-girlfriend, the mother of a child they had previously shared.

Jurors, who saw the X scar on the girl’s back that required more than 100 stitches by doctors, found Romero guilty of aggravated mayhem. During the trial, one veteran Fairfield police officer testified that the slashing wounds were the most horrific and serious he had ever seen in his long law enforcement career.

Judge Peter B. Foor sentenced Romero on Thursday to life in prison with possibility of parole.

Romero married the 19-year-old girl in January 2011, one week after meeting her. They kept their Reno wedding a secret from her family.

Romero shared his plot with his bride a few months into their marriage. He would get control of his child from the ex-girlfriend by getting her arrested and then deported back to Mexico.

It started off as a simple scheme. Romero hit her several times in the arm, leaving some large bruises. The girl told authorities Romero’s ex-girlfriend had come out of nowhere, attacked her, ran off and dropped a photocopy of her driver’s license on the ground as she fled. Police did not believe her.

In May 2011, the girl called Fairfield police claiming the ex-girlfriend had attacked her and cut her hair somewhere near the Linear Trail. Police accused her of lying and she admitted she had cooked up the haircut attack.

A few weeks later, she slashed herself across the hip and stomach with a box cutter, called police and blamed the ex-girlfriend again. Police still did not believe her. She did the same thing again in August 2011 and got the same result from police.

On their fifth effort at framing the ex-girlfriend, Romero and his young wife spent the day of Aug. 11, 2011, driving around the Bay Area before parking in an empty field alongside Auto Mall Parkway. A few minutes later, the girl decided she no longer wanted to be a part of the scheme. She jumped from their car and started to run off. Romero went after her. She was tackled and seconds later Romero knelt over her and carved the X into her back before fleeing.

Police found the partially clad girl, semiconscious and lying in a pool of her own blood next to her car. She initially blamed the ex-girlfriend, but then told police about the bizarre scheme.

Two months after testifying against Romero at his trial, the girl filed for divorce.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

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