Westminster man gets 48 years in prison for death of 2-year-old girl, Samantha.

A 29-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 48 years in prison for the death of a 2-year-old girl.

Provided by the Westminster Police Department

Joseph Barela

In June, Joseph William Barela was found guilty by a Jefferson County jury in the death of his girlfriend’s daughter, a toddler named Samantha.

Samantha died after suffering massive head and brain injuries, including internal bleeding. She had also numerous bruises that were in various stages of healing at the time of her death, according to the district attorney’s office.

On Jan. 26, 2017, Samantha was left in Barela’s care when her mother went to work at 7:30 a.m., the district attorney’s office said. Ten minutes later Barela called her to say Samantha was having a hard time breathing.

A call was made to 911 for help, and Westminster police arrived at the couple’s apartment, 5557 W. 79th Ave., where Samantha was found unresponsive and not breathing. She was taken to a hospital and died the next day.

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