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Man gets 15 years in death of baby

FORT WORTH -- A 31-year-old man accused of injuring an 8-month-old girl who later died has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Germain Martinez reached an agreement with prosecutors Thursday and pleaded guilty to injury to a child/serious bodily injury in connection with the March 6, 2006, death of Brooke Martinez. He must serve at least half the 15-year term before he is eligible for parole.

"Although the death of a baby is always tragic, there is no amount of time that could make this family whole again," said Alana Minton, chief of the Crimes Against Children Units in the Tarrant County district attorney's office. "Both the state and the family agreed that this was the best resolution based upon the facts and circumstances of the case."

Martinez's defense attorney, Rose Anna Salinas, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Officials have said the child had been living with Germain Martinez's family for several months because she had been removed from her mother's custody by Child Protective Services.

Germain Martinez, the husband of Brooke's half sister, told police he had been caring for the baby at their home in the 2000 block of Pearl Avenue in north Fort Worth while his wife ran errands. He said Brooke fell off a couch about 7 p.m.

Martinez told police that he and his wife later took the baby to Cook Children's Medical Center after he found that she was having trouble breathing and was limp. The child later died.

An autopsy performed by the Tarrant County medical examiner's office determined that the infant died of blunt trauma to the head and brain.

Police have said that the doctors concluded that the child's injuries were not consistent with Germain Martinez's story. He was later arrested.

CPS has said that Brooke had been removed from her mother's custody because of a concern that her mother was using drugs. Officials have said that Brooke's mother requested that Brooke be placed with the baby's half sister. CPS caseworkers conducted a home study on the half-sister and Germain Martinez -- neither of whom has a criminal record or CPS history -- before placing the baby in the woman's temporary care.