INDIO (CNS) - Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in the murder trial of a Blythe man accused in the death of his roommate's 18-month-old toddler.
Along with the murder count, Jordan Bracamonte, 25, is charged with four counts of spousal abuse and one count each of false imprisonment and assault on a child under 8 resulting in death.
Bracamonte was arrested on April 29, 2015, following an investigation by Blythe police that began when a young boy was brought by his father to Palo Verde Hospital unconscious and in critical condition, according to police.
The child was then airlifted to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where he was briefly on life support until his death on May 1, 2015. A medical examiner later ruled the death was the result of blunt force trauma.
According to court documents, the toddler, Mario Perez Jr., was the son of a man who was living with Bracamonte and his wife in their apartment at the time of the murder. The defendant's wife would watch the toddler while his father was away, according to court documents, but she was asleep on the morning that Bracamonte appears to have been responsible for watching him.
The defendant maintains that the day before Mario was taken to the hospital, the child had spilled food on himself. Bracamonte then walked the toddler upstairs to bathe him, but before they reached the top, he released the toddler because he was ``whining and crying,'' according to a state of facts listed in a motion drafted by the Bracamonte's public defender, causing the boy to tumble down the stairs and onto his head.
``Bracamonte stated that he thought the child would just fall on his behind, but letting go of his grasp caused the child to fall down the stairs and hit his head,'' the document states.
The admission was included in witness testimony during the defendant's preliminary hearing, although it was not immediately clear whether Bracamonte made the admission to authorities or another party.
The day before Mario was hospitalized, his father saw a bump on his head, and Bracamonte allegedly told him the boy had fallen. The next day, the toddler had some kind of seizure, spurring the father to take him to the hospital.
Bracamonte is in custody at the Indio jail in lieu of $10 million bail.