Ex-Marine on trial for infant death, jurors hear tapes
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In an extremely unusual court session, jurors left the courtroom Monday for an up close look at evidence in the murder trial against a former Fresno Marine.
The trial against Robert Quiroz moved from the seventh floor to the basement Monday afternoon.
The jurors, the lawyers, the judge and his staff, as well as an Action News camera all set up in the courthouse basement to check out the couch on which three-month-old Roman Quiroz died.
The murder trial turned into a hands-on experience for the jury that will decide whether the former Marine is guilty of murder.
As the trial convened in the basement, a homicide investigator demonstrated how Quiroz said he must have accidentally fractured his son's skull when he took little Roman out of a car seat and put him on a couch.
"Basically, from this position, it was here," Fresno Police Dept. detective Brad Alcorn said as he demonstrated a movement across his body.
For the first four days of trial, jurors had heard about the couch -- about how it was old, raggedy, and not very cushiony.
"Like in a new couch when you press on it, you can definitely tell if the padding is new," Det. Alcorn testified. "In this case, it's not. When you, with any pressure at all, when you push on the padding, you can feel the hard wooden armrest beneath it."
Monday, jurors actually got the chance to feel it for themselves, and for the first time, they got a close look at the defendant.
Temporarily released from his shackles, Quiroz walked to the couch and stood next to it to give jurors some perspective.
Jurors also heard from Quiroz for the first time during the trial. Prosecutors played the taped interviews he gave homicide detectives after his son's death.
Quiroz never admitted to intentionally hurting Roman, but he gradually realized during the interviews that he was responsible for what happened.
"I'm probably going to go to jail," he told detectives. "I know you guys are not going to arrest me, but I told you, you know, the head is me. I did it."
Jurors will eventually hear from Quiroz directly. The former Marine is expected to testify later this week to give his version of his son's death.
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