Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dad's trial begins, charged with murdering 2-year-old son during court-ordered visitation (Moreno Valley, California)

We've posted on this case before. Classic case of a protective mother who was threatened by a family court judge for trying to save her child. The judge: JOHN M. PACHECO, who STILL REMAINS ON THE BENCH. The "alleged" killer dad: ALEX BAEZA.

MORENO VALLEY: Father's trial begins in toddler's death
10:00 PM PDT on Monday, August 22, 2011


A mother sobbed on the witness stand Monday as she described the last time she saw her 2-year-old son alive -- left with his father, who is now charged with the boy's murder.

The trial began in the Riverside Hall of Justice on Monday for Alexandro Baeza, 27, of Moreno Valley, charged with leaving his son Isaac Gallegos brain dead during a visitation at his home.

The child was pronounced dead several days later after his family took him off life support.

Moreno Valley police arrested Baeza in April 2010 at Riverside County Regional Medical Center when the boy was brought in, not breathing, with a massive blood clot on the brain.

A prosecutor outlined Baeza's relationship with Isaac's mother, Andrea Gallegos. Gallegos began allowing visitation in 2009 when Baeza said he wanted to be part of his son's life.

About eight months later, Gallegos sought sole custody in San Bernardino County Family Court after she reported to police that Isaac came home with bruises on his buttocks, according to court records.

Several CPS investigations into Isaac's bruises showed no findings of abuse. Baeza's attorney, Darryl Exum said his client had another daughter and never had abuse allegations with her.

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge John M. Pacheco told Gallegos at the custody hearing that she was overreacting and threatened to take away custody if she continued to make abuse allegations.

Pacheco remains on the bench and has not faced any public discipline by the state judicial commission.

"He said there was no proof. He didn't believe Alex would hurt Isaac," Gallegos testified Monday about the judge.

"If you thought he (Baeza) was hurting Isaac, why did you give him up?" Deputy District Attorney Burke Strunsky asked.

"Due to the court order," Gallegos said. "He would've been taken from me. I was trying to protect Isaac."

But Baeza's defense attorney said his client would not hurt his son and the boy may have been sick before he came into his father's care.

"Overwhelming evidence will show that Alexandro Baeza did not kill his son," Exum said.

On the day he died, his father told his mother he had a cold and a runny nose. He called Gallegos in a panic that Isaac was not breathing and she told him to call 911.

Baeza changed his story several times when interviewed by police, but told investigators Isaac had fallen off the bed and hit his head while he was changing his diaper.

Jurors were shown portions of the police interview, where Baeza told police, "I didn't do it hard. That's just what happened."