MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The man accused of beating a child to death because he found out he wasn’t the father made his first appearance in court Thursday, but this wasn’t his first time in trouble with the law.
Carlos Zuniga-Aviles, originally from Honduras and in the U.S. illegally, has been deported from the United States five times. His most recent deportation was in 2016 after he was arrested in Salt Lake City, Utah. Police say he was selling heroin and cocaine.
The 33-year-old is now being held in Memphis without bond on charges of first-degree murder.
It’s not clear when he re-entered the country, but police say he was last living in a Memphis apartment with his girlfriend and her four-month-old child.
Detectives say he found out the child wasn’t his two weeks ago, and beat him to death.
Zuniga-Aviles originally gave a fake name to officers, which records show he’s also done in the past. He’s been caught by border patrol in Texas multiple times.
Shelby County officials say he’ll go through the court system here like any other defendant. The sheriff’s office says first-degree murder suspects don’t typically make bond.
If for any reason his case is dismissed or he is found not guilty, the sheriff’s office said they’ll let U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement know he’s being released.
But they won’t keep him in custody if ICE needed more time to get him.
The county decided last year they’ll no longer comply with detainers on immigrants here illegally, saying it violates the Constitution.
An ICE spokesperson said they’ve still requested a retainer on Zuniga-Aviles in the event he’s released, as they want to deport him for a sixth time.
He’s scheduled to be back in court next week. Authorities say this entire court process could take years.