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Former Fresno Marine testifies in infant son's murder

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The former Fresno Marine on trial for his son's murder took the stand in his own defense.

Robert Quiroz finished testifying Wednesday afternoon. He's on trial for his infant son's murder.

Officials say a head injury is what killed little Roman Quiroz. But when police and family members asked Robert Quiroz how his son died, he told them all, the boy choked. Even Wednesday, as he admitted he caused the head injury, he said he couldn't show the jury exactly what happened.

Emotions overcame Robert Quiroz as he accepted responsibility for the death of his son, Roman. His tearful testimony came minutes after he demonstrated how he put the three-month-old on a couch. Quiroz believes the impact is what killed his son, but he said he couldn't show the jury how hard he put Roman down. Instead, he tried to describe it.

Michael Idiart, Quiroz's defense attorney: "Was the contact with roman's head to the arm of the couch hard?"

Quiroz: "It was hard. Yes."

Idiart: "Too hard?"

Quiroz: "Yes."

Quiroz said his son was still alive and breathing afterwards and didn't have any obvious signs of injury on his head. But his face showed, not everything was okay.

Quiroz: "He had a very dazed look on his face. It was mostly in his eyes."

Idiart: "What did you see?"

Quiroz: "His eyes were looking left to right very fast."

Quiroz performed CPR and called 911, but by the time help arrived, it was too late. Roman was dead.

Investigators and family members started asking questions that night. But Quiroz didn't tell anyone about the incident with the couch until after coroners determined Roman died of a fractured skull.

Even though he said it was an accident, Quiroz said he didn't want anyone to know about it, especially if it wasn't what killed his son.

Quiroz: "At first I thought Roman choked. The hitting of the head was in the back of my mind, but I didn't want to bring that up."

Idiart: "Why?"

Quiroz: "Because I was ashamed of it."

Closing arguments in the case are set for Friday. After that, it'll be up to the jury to decide if it's first degree murder or a lesser crime like manslaughter, which is what the defense claims.

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Tags:
court, crimetracker, murder, fresno, fresno county, fresno west central, local, corin hoggard
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