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.
Prosecutors allege the girl died after her brother shook and tossed her for interrupting his video game. She was injured while left in Rivera's care for more than six hours on Aug. 16, 2011, while her parents were at work.
The doctor who treated the girl testified Wednesday that her injuries — a fractured skull, swelling of the brain and bleeding around the brain — were the result of “abusive head trauma.”
Rivera's attorneys contend the girl was injured when she fell off a bed and hit her head in the family's northwest Oklahoma City apartment.
Rivera, the video showed, repeatedly denied harming the girl. He told the detective he spent most of the day playing a video game online while the girl sat by his side or played on the floor.
“I don't want your sister to lose her life because we're sitting here going around and round,” Davis tells the boy in the video shown in court.
Defense attorney Michael Johnson took exception to Davis' interviewing techniques, saying he lied to get a confession by telling Rivera doctors needed to know how the girl was hurt her in order to keep her alive.
When Johnson asked Davis if police officers are allowed to lie during interviews, he answered in the affirmative.
“I did that (to get him) to feel emotion for baby Linda,” Davis said.