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Testimony begins in trial for OKC teen accused in infant sister's death

Crystian Rivera, 14, of Oklahoma City, is charged with first-degree murder in Aug. 19, 2011, death of 9-month-old Linda Beletzuy. Police say Rivera told them he got frustrated when the girl interrupted a video game.
by Tim Willert Published: October 30, 2012

A fall from a bed caused the death of a baby girl whose brother said he shook her because she interrupted his video game, the boy's defense attorney said at his murder trial Tuesday.

Crystian Rivera, 14, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 9-month-old sister, Linda Beletzuy, who died Aug. 19, 2011, from head injuries.

Defense attorney Michael Johnson in his opening statement said the girl suffered the injuries when she fell off her bed and landed on her head.

“There's no evidence that this baby was shaken,” Johnson said. “This, more than likely, was a tragic accident.”

Prosecutors allege the girl died after her brother shook and tossed her for interrupting his game. She was injured while left in Rivera's care for more than six hours Aug. 16, 2011, while her parents were at work.

Assistant District Attorney SuAnne Carlson in her opening statement Tuesday said the child's injuries were consistent with shaking, which resulted in a “whiplash motion” that damaged her brain.

“This injury was inconsistent with a fall off the bed,” Carlson said.

An emergency room doctor who initially treated the girl before she was taken to another hospital testified Tuesday the girl was “pretty much unresponsive” when she arrived in her father's arms.

Dr. Demille Madox said a fall could not have caused her injuries, adding that nurses who treated the girl suspected foul play.

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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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