Man faces second trial after jury acquits him of second-degree murder in infant’s death
By Neal Putnam
After a jury acquitted a Ramona man of murder in the death of his girlfriend’s baby, a prosecutor announced Friday, Nov. 8, he will face a second trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter and assault upon a child.
The seven-woman, five-man jury acquitted David Humberto Ortiz, 21, of second-degree murder on Nov. 4 after deliberating 4½ days. They deadlocked 8-4 for conviction on the other charges, and a mistrial was declared for those counts.
Ortiz appeared Friday before El Cajon Superior Court Judge Allan Preckel to hear whether he would face a second trial. Preckel set the retrial for Jan. 13. He remains in jail on $1.5 million bail.
The murder acquittal spares Ortiz from serving a life sentence, but the assault charge upon a child carries a 25-year penalty. He has pleaded not guilty and did not testify in his trial.
The trial began Oct. 15. His attorney, Jane Kinsey, told jurors the daughter’s injuries could have occurred after she fell off a sofa, which is what Ortiz told sheriff’s deputies. Prosecutor Fiona Khalil told jurors he violently shook the baby.
Liliana Velasquez suffered a brain injury on July 4, 2012, and a leg fracture where she lived with her mother in the 2600 block of Southern Oak Road in Ramona. Ortiz was not the father of the victim, but lived there with her 20-year-old mother, who was at work at the time.
Ortiz borrowed a cell phone from a painter working next door and called his aunt, saying the baby was unresponsive. She told him to bring the baby to her and paramedics were called. She was airlifted to a hospital.
Ortiz told paramedics the girl fell off the couch, but later admitted to shaking the baby so hard that “her head bobbed,” said Khalil in her opening statement. Blood appeared in her eyes, a classic sign of abuse, she added, and the baby’s left ankle was fractured.
“Liliana’s brain was swollen. Her brain had been denied oxygen,” said the prosecutor.
Two doctors determined that Liliana was brain-dead, said Khalil. She could not breathe on her own and she gave no response to stimuli. After two days in this condition, the child’s life support was removed and she died.
Liliana’s heart, kidney, spleen and other organs were donated to babies who needed the organs.
In a control call with sheriff’s deputies, the victim’s mother called Ortiz and asked again about the baby’s injuries. Ortiz repeated the girl fell off the couch. His attorney told jurors that Ortiz repeated the same story and was consistent.
- Jury selection set to start Tuesday in infant’s death
- Judge orders trial in infant’s death
- Ortiz ordered to stand trial in infant’s death
- Babysitter charged in infant’s death turns 20 in jail
- Hearing reset for man charged in infant’s death
Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=28731