Moreno Valley Man On Trial For Allegedly Beating His Son, 2, To Death

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Jury selection got under way Thursday for the trial of a Moreno Valley man accused of fatally beating his 2-year-old son in April 2010.

Alexandro Alfonso Baeza, 27, could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and assault on a child resulting in great bodily injury in the death of Isaac Gallegos.

Several panels of prospective jurors were summoned to the courtroom of Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark Johnson today. Opening statements in the case are tentatively scheduled to begin Monday morning.

Baeza is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside in lieu of $1 million bail.

According to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Burke Strunsky, Isaac died from cerebral hemorrhaging caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking.

The boy’s mother, Andrea Gallegos of Fontana, had reportedly documented previous injuries on Isaac that she believed were the result of beatings and told as much to a family court judge in San Bernardino. The judge accused her of falsely making the allegations in order to gain exclusive custody rights to the child, according to the prosecution.

On April 10, 2010, Baeza called 911 and reported his son was in respiratory distress. The boy, who reportedly was bleeding cranially, was rushed to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley.

Surgeons determined there was nothing they could do, and Isaac died three days later.

Under questioning by sheriff’s detectives, Baeza initially said Isaac had started breathing abnormally as he was changing the child’s diapers, according to the trial brief.

When investigators challenged the story, Baeza “admitted that while changing his son’s diaper, he jerked the diaper up from under Isaac, causing him to fall and hit his head on the floor,” Strunsky wrote. “Defendant described the floor as `very hard,’ (but) investigators noted that the floor in the bedroom was, in fact, carpeted and padded.”

The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma.

According to Strunsky, Baeza was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of his arrest.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)



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