An emergency room doctor testified Tuesday that a 2-month-old girl's skull fracture was consistent with “blunt force trauma” and could not have been caused by a toddler jumping on the baby's head as the baby's father claimed.
Dr. Carlos Brown, an emergency room physician at East Texas Medical Center, answered questions on the first day of testimony in the trial of Saul Lino-Porcayo, 24.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to a charge of injury to a child, a first-degree felony. He could receive probation or face up to life in prison if he is convicted, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Jason Parrish said.
Porcayo admitted to Smith County Sheriff's deputies that he struck the child out of anger when he was intoxicated. But Porcayo told his wife, Christina Leno, that their 12-month-old daughter had gotten into the baby's crib and jumped on top of her head as she was lying in the bed on the night of Dec. 19, 2010.
He said the story Ms. Leno told him involving the older sibling was not consistent with the baby's head injuries. Brown said the baby was transferred to Children's Hospital in Dallas, where doctors there said at the time that the child's trauma was extensive.
“The fact that her skull was fractured sent up red flags” of possible signs of abuse, Brown said to the jury. He said the baby “appeared comatose and was not moving correctly.”
Both the girl, now 2, and her older sister are in foster care. The girl survived, but Ms. Leno, the child's mother, testified that the baby “calls everyone mom.” The child had dragged one leg, but now walks in a normal fashion, Ms. Leno said. The girl recognizes her older sibling and her mother, Ms. Leno testified.
She said she is not sure about the condition of her child's brain, and that she has completed all of the necessary classes and requirements to regain custody of both her children.
When she came home, she found beer cans lined up on a dining room table inside a trailer that she and her husband shared with Larry Aguirre, Porcayo's stepbrother. Porcayo was babysitting his own two girls, along with Aguirre's three children on that night. Aguirre had gone out with a friend to shoot pool.
Ms. Leno said she was angry with Porcayo because she thought he had been drinking, and testified she found her 2 month old clad only in a diaper and her other daughter in different clothes than she put the child in when she left earlier in the day.
The baby's mother said her child was not crying or making any noise and appeared “unresponsive,” Ms. Leno testified that the only time the baby made any noise was when she pulled up to the front of the hospital, and that it was a “gasping sound.”
Defense attorney Jeremy Coe, who waived his opening statement, asked Ms. Leno if she was sure if the beer cans belonged to her husband. She replied that she was not sure.
Coe also asked Ms. Leno if she had ever seen the baby's older sister in her crib with her before, and she said yes. “She is capable of jumping into the crib,” Ms. Leno told the jury.
Porcayo, who remains jailed in Smith County on a $500,000 bond, has no prior felony convictions. Testimony is expected to continue on Wednesday.
Updated Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:47 a.m. CST