Jurors have begun deliberating the case of a 14-year-old boy accused of killing his 9-month-old sister, Linda.
Crystian Rivera is charged with first-degree murder, and is being tried as a youthful offender. Five women and seven men make up the jury. A juror was kicked off the case last week because he was unable to stay awake.
Attorneys delivered their closing arguments Thursday morning. Prosecutors said Rivera became angry in August 2011 because baby Linda, began crying while he was playing a video game. They said he grabbed the baby, slammed her to the ground, and shook her, causing a fatal brain injury. The defense claimed the injury happened when the child fell off a bed.
The state prosecutor addressed the jury first. She said all the evidence shows the baby's death was the result of abuse, not an accident, and that Rivera is the only one who could have inflicted the injuries because only he, his then 4-year-old brother, and the baby were in the house at the time.
The prosecutor used a doll to show how Linda may have been hurt. She said Rivera left the room after slamming the baby to the ground, but later returned and found her unconscious. The prosecution said he admitted to shaking Linda in an attempt to try to revive her.
In its closing argument, the defense countered this was not abuse, but an accident. They said Rivera never tried to hide what happened because he texted his mother as he and his sister were on the way to the hospital.
The defense also claimed the prosecution's timing is off. The attorney told the jury Rivera babysat his sister until his father came home from work around 4 p.m. He said when the father returned home, baby Linda appeared to be fine. The defense also claimed police coerced a statement from Rivera, and medical evidence supported their theory that the baby died from a single blow she received after accidentally falling off a bed.