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ER doctor refutes defense claim in trial of teen charged with baby sister's death

Crystian Rivera, 14, is accused of causing the injuries that killed his 9-month-old sister after she interrupted his video game; defense attorneys say she was hurt when she fell off a bed
by Tim Willert Published: November 1, 2012

Rivera sat, head bowed, as a crime scene investigator described photos he took of the girl as she lay in the hospital's intensive care unit the day before she died.

The defendant did not look at the pictures, which revealed bruising on the girl's chest and contusions on her legs. Prosecutors allege the bruises were caused by the defendant; Rivera's attorneys contend they were caused by the hospital staff.

The defendant's mother wiped away tears as she viewed the pictures shown to jurors on a flat-screen monitor.

Also Wednesday, a patrol officer who took Rivera and his 4-year-old brother to the Oklahoma City police station to be interviewed in the early morning hours of Aug. 17 told jurors Rivera was quiet and did not appear to be scared.

Officer Seth Toler recounted sitting with the defendant and his little brother, who watched TV and napped while detectives interviewed their parents in another room. Rivera had a cellphone, which Toler said he used to possibly text or play games.

The detective who interviewed Rivera testified at his preliminary hearing a year ago that Rivera's mother sent him a text message while she sat in a police interview room instructing him to lie about her being home all day instead of at work.

Rivera's parents, Carlos Beletzuy-Lopez and Linda Walleska Beletzuy, are awaiting trial on child neglect charges. has disabled the comments for this article.
by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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