ALBUQUERQUE ― Senior U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack sentenced Peter John Zayas, 33, Tuesday in Federal Court in Las Cruces, to 15 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for his conviction on a child abuse resulting in great bodily harm charge.
Zayas’ conviction arose out of conduct occurring between August 2007 and October 2007, resulting in the death of his 2-month-old daughter. Judge Brack sentenced Zayas based on a guilty plea entered Feb. 19, 2014. Judge Brack sentenced his wife Sophia Zayas, Sept. 27, 2018, to 15 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for her conviction for child abuse resulting in great bodily harm and death.
U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Special Agent in Charge Nicholas J. Dorval of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 814, announced Peter Zayas’ sentence.
The FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations arrested Peter Zayas and his wife Sophia Monique Zayas, 36, in April 2012 on charges that between Oct. 21, 2007 and Oct. 22, 2007, the couple caused the death of their two-month-old infant daughter. In Nov. 2012, a 16-count superseding indictment was filed charging the couple with second-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death, child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, and other child abuse-related offenses. At the time of the offenses alleged in the superseding indictment, Peter Zayas was a sergeant with the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base.
Peter Zayas pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse Feb. 19, 2014. In his plea agreement, Peter Zayas admitted that from Aug. 16, 2007 through Oct. 22, 2007, he permitted his infant to be in a situation that endangered her life knowing that there was a foreseeable risk that she would be physically harmed or killed by leaving her in Sophia Zayas’ care knowing that Sophia Zayas had a history of alcohol abuse. Peter Zayas acknowledged that the infant died on Oct. 22, 2007, as a result of his negligence because it was foreseeable to him that leaving the infant in Sophia Zayas’ care could lead to harm given her alcohol consumption and binge drinking during the Oct. 14, 2007 through Oct. 22, 2007.
Feb. 24, 2014, Sophia Zayas pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in great bodily harm and admitted that from Aug. 16, 2007 through Oct. 22, 2007, she placed her daughter in a situation, which endangered the infant’s life. In her plea agreement, Sophia Zayas admitted that the infant suffered posterior transverse skull fractures, rib fractures, and radius and ulna fractures as a result of her conduct. The infant died of her injuries on Oct. 22, 2007.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maria Y. Armijo and John A. Balla of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.