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Teen on trial for murder admits shaking baby sister

Attorney for Crystian Rivera accuses detective of lying to elicit confession from boy charged with murder in death of 9-month-old Linda Beletzuy on Aug. 19, 2011
by Tim Willert Modified: November 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm •  Published: November 2, 2012

A boy accused of causing his baby sister's death admitted shaking the girl after she hit her head on a bed railing and began to cry, a video played during a murder trial Thursday shows.

But the attorney for Crystian Rivera, 14, accused a police investigator of lying to the boy to elicit a confession.

Rivera is shown during a police interview demonstrating for detective Robert Davis, with the aid of a doll, how he shook 9-month-old Linda Beletzuy while she was left in his care.

“Did you shake her?” the investigator asks Rivera, who was 13 at the time of the Aug. 17, 2011, interview at Oklahoma City Police Department headquarters.

“Maybe when I picked her up from her bed,” said Rivera, who told Davis he shook the girl to calm her down and then set her on the floor.

“Did you shake her?” Davis asks again.

“Yes,” the boy said before using the doll to show the investigator.

Davis acknowledged during cross-examination Thursday that the level of force the boy demonstrated on the doll wouldn't have been enough to severely injure the girl.

“I would say the demonstration was not sufficient to cause the level of injury baby Linda had,” Davis testified.

Rivera, 14, is charged with first-degree murder as a youthful offender in the death of his sister, who died Aug. 19, 2011, from head injuries.

If convicted, Rivera could be held in a juvenile facility only until five months after his 18th birthday. However, he also could be ordered to prison if he fails to complete a treatment plan.

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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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