BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man who prosecutors said fatally beat his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son then buried him in a shallow grave “like an animal” was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison.
Kaleb Kessinger, 22, was found guilty earlier this month of first-degree murder, assault on a child under 8 causing death, recklessly evading a peace officer and resisting arrest.
Kessinger and his former girlfriend, Ayled Chavez, were arrested in April 2018 on suspicion of killing Chavez’s son, Ramon Angel Reyes-Chavez, and burying his body in the Kern River Canyon. Chavez accepted a plea deal and testified at trial that Kessinger inflicted the fatal injuries to her son.
Chavez left her son Kessinger’s care while she was out, and when she returned home the boy had multiple injuries to his face and head, she testified. Kessinger refused to take Ramon to a hospital until Chavez, 21, agreed to lie about what happened.
The two finally started Ramon driving to Kern Medical, but the boy died on the way. They returned home, and later drove to Democrat Hot Springs, where the child was buried, according to testimony.
Kessinger’s attorney, David A. Torres, said at trial that Chavez was trying to pin the blame on his client when she was the one who killed Ramon. He pointed out multiple instances where she lied to police. Chavez initially reported her son had been kidnapped, and didn’t lead police to his body until the child had been in the ground 30 hours.
Kessinger fled from police when they showed up at his house to question him, and eluded authorities for two days before they tracked him to a motel on Oak Street. He resisted arrest, and police used force to take him into custody.
Also at Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors dismissed charges of grand theft, possession of an assault rifle and other charges against Kessinger since he is already facing life in prison. Those charges stemmed from a separate case in which he was alleged to have stolen $1,200 from his grandfather and stashed guns for the benefit of the West Side Crips gang.