Ortiz ordered to stand trial in infant’s death
By Neal Putnam
A Ramona man who was babysitting his girlfriend’s daughter was ordered Feb. 5 to stand trial for murder and assault upon the 8-month-old after a sheriff’s sergeant testified the suspect admitted to shaking the infant to wake her up.
El Cajon Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis heard statements by David Humberto Ortiz, 20, during interviews with deputies at the preliminary hearing. A trial date will be set on Feb. 19.
Liliana Velasquez suffered a brain injury on July 4, 2012, and a leg fracture where she lived in the 2600 block of Southern Oak Road, according to the court. She was hospitalized, but was considered brain dead and two days later her life support was discontinued and she died.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Norton testified that Ortiz was home alone babysitting the infant and another child while the girl’s mother was working. An air ambulance took Liliana to a hospital following an 11:26 a.m. call, and Norton said he and other deputies talked to Ortiz at the hospital.
In that first interview, Ortiz said he discovered the girl had fallen off the couch and hit her head on the floor near a coffee cup. Ortiz said he “was trying to wake her up. He shook her back and forth,” said Norton.
Norton and another deputy brought Ortiz to the sheriff’s Ramona station days later for a second interview. He said Ortiz told him he had been ill and was “trying to take a nap” when Liliana woke him up.
“He was angry and picked her up by her feet,” said Norton, adding that Ortiz acknowledged he picked her up “hard” and that may have caused a leg fracture.
Norton testified Ortiz said the girl’s head could have struck a wall when he turned. He added that Ortiz said her head could also have struck the wood frame of a bed or a railing.
“He said he was scared. He didn’t know what to do,” said Norton.
“He felt he should die. He felt he should be with Liliana,” said Norton. “He wanted to kill himself.”
The sergeant told the judge that Ortiz was arrested at that point because he seemed suicidal, and an evaluation from a County Mental Health doctor would have to be conducted for his own safety.
Ortiz later accused deputies of “trying to make me look like I did it,” and added “it feels like everybody was coming down on him.”
Norton testified about a hole in the wall in the residence’s master bedroom in which he said it looked like someone’s fist went through it. He said he put his own fist inside the hole and it generally matched the shape of a fist.
Ortiz’s mother, Zorida Ortiz, testified briefly and said her son seemed to be frightened and panicked on the day the girl was injured.
Besides murder, Ortiz is charged with assault upon a child that results in death. Both charges carry a 25-year sentence.
Ortiz has pleaded not guilty. He remains in the South Bay Detention Facility on $1.5 million bail. He is also accused of being in violation of probation in a previous grand theft case.
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