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.
The girl's injuries included a skull fracture, swelling of the brain and bleeding around the brain that resulted from “significant forcible head trauma,” a doctor who treated the girl testified at Rivera's preliminary hearing.
The boy was playing the game “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” authorities said. The warfare-based game is rated for players 17 and older.
Rivera told police his sister fell and started to cry, distracting him. The boy “confessed that when his man in the video game was killed, he became angry and frustrated,” and he picked up his sister and shook her, police said.
Rivera, who was 13 when his sister died, is being tried in juvenile court. He wore jeans and a T-shirt, and showed no emotion Tuesday.
In February, a judge ruled Rivera should be certified as a youthful offender after a case worker from the Office of Juvenile Affairs and a psychologist testified the boy can be rehabilitated despite a propensity for anger.
Rivera's parents, Carlos Beletzuy-Lopez and Linda Walleska Beletzuy, of Oklahoma City, who left Rivera with the girl and his 4-year-old brother, are awaiting trial on child neglect charges.
The teen's trial continues Wednesday.