Jury convicts foster mother in death of 4-year-old boy

The Associated Press
Saturday June 09, 2001

RIVERSIDE — Jurors needed two hours to convict a Perris foster mother in the 1999 beating death of a 4-year-old boy. 

A Superior Court jury on Thursday convicted Theresa Barroso, 24, of murder, torture and assault of a child. Sentencing was set for Sept. 7. 

After the verdict, Judge Russell Schooling commended jurors for enduring explicit testimony and heart-wrenching photographs admitted as evidence. 

“This was a very difficult case for you, for the attorneys, and for me,” he said. 

A jury hearing a case against Barroso’s husband, Alvin Lee Robinson, 28, are set to hear closing arguments and will begin deliberations next week. 

“She completely maintains her innocence and states 100 percent that Alvin killed Andy,” said Barroso’s attorney Peter Scalisi. 

Andy’s death uncovered a flawed Riverside County foster-care licensing process that failed to uncover Barroso’s troubled marriage to Robinson and his misdemeanor conviction for vandalism. 

Gov. Gray Davis signed a law last September introduced by Assemblyman Rod Pacheco, R-Riverside, after Andy’s killing. It helps fund background checks from the state Department of Justice for potential foster parents. 

Andy was in Barroso’s care only two months. The boy had toilent-training setbacks and irritated the couple with his requests for drinks of water. The boy was kicked off a small blue chair by Barroso, who authorities said weighed about 300 pounds at the time. Andy later died when his head struck a dresser. 

Andy’s limp body and swollen scrotum were smeared with dirt to make it appear he had fallen while playing outside the house. He died Aug. 2, 1999. 

Andy lived in Hemet with his parents, Laura Utley and Thomas L. “Cowboy” Setzer as a 1-year-old. When social workers found filth and syringes in the apartment, Andy was removed from the home and was sent to live with a relative in Hemet and later lived with a Menifee couple, Mike and Lynn Henry, who wanted to adopt him. Social workers decided Andy would be better off elsewhere and sent him to live with Barroso and Robinson.