The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has announced plans to seek the death penalty for a San Jose man accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s infant daughter before beating her to death in October 2015.
Wayne Moreno, 25, had been dating the infant’s mother for roughly six weeks when she left 14-month-old Diana alone with him for the first time on October 2, 2015.
After she left, Moreno allegedly spent hours repeatedly sexually assaulting the baby. When Diana wouldn’t stop crying, Moreno beat her – resulting in multiple skull fractures, according to prosecutors.
By the time police arrived at the residence in San Jose around 2:30 p.m. Diana was already dead.
Moreno claimed the infant had been injured falling off a changing table, but an autopsy determined that was not the case. He was arrested two days later.
Moreno has been charged with murder occurring during the commission of forcible lewd acts on a child, assaulting the child resulting in her death and three separate counts of forcible lewd acts on a child.
“Wake up, Wayne.”
Wayne Moreno was in a cell in a secure wing of the Santa Clara County Jail on suicide watch. It would have been impossible to place the high-profile prisoner in the jail’s general population, and although he had not made any explicit threats of suicide, the nature of his case required the Sheriff’s Department take every precaution.
However, they couldn’t have been prepared for the impossible.
“I said wake up, Wayne.”
Moreno’s eyes fluttered. His cell and the entry just outside were only dimly illuminated but it was as if the little girl shone in her own strange light.
“Dreaming. Yeah…” He closed his eyes again and began to doze off.
“You’re not dreaming, Wayne. I told you to wake up.”
This time she was demanding. She sounded angry. He opened his eyes and she was still there. Wayne sat up on his bed. “What the fuck?”
The girl couldn’t have been more than seven or eight. A white girl but really white, like she didn’t have hardly any skin color at all. It was the same with her hair. Her eyes were the strangest part. They were black, dead black, like a doll’s or a shark’s. They didn’t even look real. Her dress, which seemed oddly old-fashioned, like what his Mama wore when she was little, was a light yellow with white trim.
The only real color the child possessed was concentrated in her lips, which were a glorious ruby red.
“My name is Susie. I’ve come to visit you, Wayne.”
“How’d you get in here? How you know my name little girl?”
“I’ve heard about you, Wayne. I heard you like to hurt little girls.”
“Hey. You get out. Guard! Guard! Where the hell are the fucking guards?”
“You’re not a nice man and you say dirty words.”
“Get the fuck out of here girl or I’ll do more than say dirty words.” He was angry and confused and she really pissed him off with what she said about him and girls.
“Really, Wayne? I’m not scared of you. I’m not scared of anyone. I haven’t been for a long, long time.”
“Who cares? Guard!”
“No one can hear you. My friends made sure they’re all asleep. When they wake up, they won’t remember anything.”
Then she grinned and he saw her fangs for the first time.
“We have all night long to play, Wayne.”
“You! You stay away!” He had climbed back onto his bed and pressed himself against the cinder block wall. If this wasn’t the mother of all nightmares then he figured he must have descended into his own personal hell. Moreno wasn’t that far off, actually.
Susie placed an alabaster hand on the door of his cell and it swung open effortlessly. “Don’t you want to play with me, Wayne? I heard that you liked playing with little girls.”
She took a step into the cell.
“You stay the fuck away from me, you hear? You come anywhere near me and I’ll kill you.”
“You can’t kill me, Wayne. I’m already dead.” She took a second step in and then stopped.
“But if you don’t like me, I brought some friends. Maybe you’ll like one of them.”
Out of the shadows behind her shapes began to move. Then one by one they appeared in the pale light. There were more children like Susie, boys and girls all with unnaturally light skin, dark eyes, and red lips. Some smiled, some leered, One little girl who looked no more than four years old crouched down and hissed like a feral cat, baring gleaming fangs just like Susie’s.
“So who would you like to play with first, Wayne?”
“Go away. Please, please go away. I’ll confess. I’ll tell them everything. I’ll spend the rest of my life in the joint. Just go away. Please don’t hurt me.” He was sobbing now, his body shaking with terror. He still couldn’t look away. What would they do to him if he couldn’t see them coming?
“I wonder if that’s how Diana felt, Wayne? She was only a baby. She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t beg you to stop hurting her like you’re begging us. She could only cry and scream. And for that, you raped her and beat her to death, Wayne. She died in terror and agony. Guess what’s going to happen to you, Wayne?”
They lunged at him all at once. He screamed for twenty minutes and no one heard except his accusers. He died just as they said he would, but it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough. Diana had died a terrible, agonizing, and unjust death and her torture lasted for hours. The only thing Susie and her friends could to was make sure Wayne’s soul got a good taste of Hell before he actually died and made the trip.
An hour later, Deputy Irma Rodgers made a routine check of the prisoner and found him hanging by the neck from a light fixture by one of his bed sheets. No one remembered any lapse in security and certainly no one recalled the guards in that entire wing having been rendered mysteriously unconscious for seventy-five minutes.
The coroner determined that Wayne Moreno died of asphyxiation consistent with strangulation and closed the case. What was never revealed to the press or the general public was the strange lack of blood in the victim’s body or the multiple puncture wounds in the throat and groin areas.
I have a hard time letting go of certain things such as the information found in the news story Death Penalty Sought For Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Baby Before Fatal Beating dated 9 January 2018. The facts of the case are more or less what I presented above, although I changed all of the names in my “fictionalized” story.
What the child victim suffered was nothing less than horrific and I still feel this strange combination of sorrow, grief, and rage. I have a granddaughter not that much older than the little girl who had been assaulted and murdered and I know exactly what I’d want to do to anyone who committed such a crime against her.
Revenge won’t bring back the dead and it won’t make their passing from life to the beyond any less agonizing and terrifying. But there must be an accounting.
I’ve written numerous stories about vampires lately, but I haven’t up to this point explored how vampire children would act or what their lives would be like. In this case, perhaps assisted by more “adult” members of their kind, they were made aware of “Wayne Moreno” and put in a position of acting against him.
We tend to think of children as sweet and innocent, even when they’re misbehaving because after all, they are children, immature, still learning, still growing. However, if you were a child and you became a vampire and thus immortal or at least extremely long-lived, mentally would you “grow up” in some fashion? Perhaps you would retain some aspects of a bizarre childhood no matter how long you continued to exist.
Living in darkness and feeding off human blood must be a particularly macabre way for a little boy or girl to experience themselves. I think it would result in children like Susie and her friends, beings who have discovered a new power, one that could be wielded against those who hurt children. In the end, it’s the only thing they can do to express their own terror, pain, and rage at having been ripped away from their loving families and their innocent lives and thrust into a world of eternal darkness and evil.
I don’t feel any better for having written this. I just had to write it anyway.