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San Diego County man guilty of killing baby, former lover

Dennis Potts, 25, was convicted of first-degree murder in the strangling deaths of his 10-month-old son and the boy's mother, Tori Vienneau, who was pushing for a paternity test.

September 11, 2009|Associated Press

A San Diego County man was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday for strangling his 10-month-old son and the baby's mother because she was pressuring him to take a paternity test.

A Superior Court jury deliberated for two days before convicting Dennis Potts, 25, of killing 22-year-old Tori Vienneau and their child, Dean, in 2006.

In closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutors argued that Potts had a secret relationship with Vienneau and strangled her because he did not want anyone to know that he was the baby's biological father.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Per Hellstrom said Potts agreed to take a mail-in paternity test but submitted another man's DNA sample instead.

Vienneau had recently told Potts that she was taking him to court over the baby's paternity, Hellstrom said.

Vienneau's mother, Dayna Herroz, said she was thrilled with the verdict.

"It has been three years that we have waited for justice," Herroz said. "We have always known who was responsible for this and today Tori and Dean finally got the only justice that we can have on Earth."

Potts' defense attorney, Kelly Armstrong, argued that another man killed the mother and child.

Potts, of Bonita, faces life in prison without parole when he is sentenced Nov. 6.

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