The news media called it the “Baby Lollipops murder case.” On November 2, 1990, the body of a 3-year-old boy weighing only 18 pounds, covered in bruises and bedsores, with a severe head wound was discovered in a hedge in front of a Miami Beach mansion. The corpse had a shirt with a picture of lollipops on it. It took weeks for investigators to determine the identity of the victim. By the time it was discovered that the child was named Lazaro Figueroa the mother and her lesbian partner had fled Miami. The women and Cardona’s two living children were found in a motel St. Cloud and on December 6, they were arrested.
It was discovered that on October 31, tiny Lazaro’s mother (or her partner) had split Lazaro’s head open with a baseball bat, and when the child would not stop screaming, she beat him to death. Then Cardona and her partner Gonzalez-Mendoza dumped the body. Cardona “initially claimed, police said, that the boy had fallen and hit his head on a tile floor while jumping on a bed.” She also claimed it was her partner alone who had dumped the boy. Yet the fact was that Lazaro had not only been brutalized the day of his death but that he had for much of his exceedingly brief life been subjected to constant brutality. He was dangerously undernourished and had often been “tied to the bed, locked in a closet, or left in the bathtub with extremely cold or hot water.”
“Gonzalez eventually admitted to beating the toddler herself, insisting she was a lesser participant. Cardona argued, however, that Gonzalez had delivered the final, fatal blow with the baseball bat. Gonzalez eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.”
Gonalez was offered a plea bargain in exchange for testimony against Cardona. She accepted a 40-year sentence in lieu of a probable death sentence. Cardona was convicted at Dade County Court of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse and on April 1, 1992 was sentenced to death. Cardona has been successful in getting retrials. In 2010 a retrial began which resulted on June 10, 2011 in a death sentence once again. Once again she was awarded a retrial when on Feb. 18, 2016 the Florida Supreme court granted her plea.
Nov. 26, 1961 – Ana Maria Cardona born.
1987 – Lazaro Figueroa born. “Lazaro had endured numerous tortures prior to his death, suffering brain damage due to untreated meningitis, anemia, malnutrition and spinal cord damage.”
Oct. 31, 1990 – murder of Lazaro Figueroa, 3; “Cardona split Lazaro’s head open with a baseball bat, and when the child would not stop screaming, she beat him to death.”
Nov. 2, 1990 – The body of a severely beaten unidentified child was found abandoned in the Miami Beach area [in a cherry hedge in front of a Miami Beach mansion] on Nov. 2, 1990. The child remained unidentified for several weeks, prompting the press to name the child "baby lollipops" because of the t-shirt the child was wearing when he was found.
Dec. 6, 1990 – Cardona and Gonzalez had fled and were arrested in St. Cloud, Osceola County.
1992? – Cardona's lesbian lover, Gonzalez, had testified against Cardona in return for a forty-year sentence for second degree murder.
Apr. 1, 1992 – sentenced to death. Dade County Court. found guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.
2008 – “After 15 years, she was released from prison in 2008 for good behavior.”
May 11, 2010 – retrial begins.
Jun. 10, 2011 – sentenced to death.
Jun. 3, 2015 – oral arguments, appeal.
Feb. 18, 2016 – Florida Supreme court orders new trial.
[“Florida Supreme Court Orders New Trial in 'Baby Lollipops' Murder Case,” NBC 6 South Florida, Feb. 18, 2016]
“Lazaro was often tied to the bed, locked in a closet, or left in the bathtub with extremely cold or hot water. When his body was found, it was covered in bruises and bedsores, and the child weighed only 18 pounds. On 10/31/90, Cardona split Lazaro’s head open with a baseball bat, and when the child would not stop screaming, she beat him to death. Cardona and Gonzalez-Mendoza dumped the body in a Miami Beach neighborhood, fled to Orlando and were eventually apprehended in St. Cloud.” [Court record: CARDONA, Ana Maria (H/F); Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County, Case #90-48092; DC #162180; DOB: 11/26/61; Sentencing Judge: The Honorable David L. Tobin; Date of Offense: 10/31/90; Date of Sentence: 04/01/92]