PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A father accused of beating to death his newborn baby girl was convicted of several charges Monday afternoon.
Following closing arguments, Judge Netti C. Vogel found Christopher Jimenez guilty of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree child abuse.
Prosecutors say Jimenez beat his then-5-week-old daughter Christina in June 2012, causing broken and fractured ribs, a broken clavicle, broken fingers, a fractured skull, and a fractured pelvis. Three weeks later, at 8-weeks-old, the child succumbed to her injuries.
Jimenez’s bench trial started October 11 during which prosecutors played the 911 call made by the girl’s mother, Mayra Gonzalez. In the recordings, Gonzalez could be heard telling a dispatcher her baby wasn’t breathing.
During testimony, Gonzalez — who in 2013 was convicted of child neglect — told the court it was only after the phone call was made did she discover the extent of her daughter’s injuries. She testified Jimenez had told her he dropped Christina by accident, and the baby hit her head on a table.
Jimenez had pleaded not guilty in the case. In the past, his defense lawyers have tried to imply the girl’s broken ribs could have been caused by the girl’s older brother — who was one year old at the time — sitting on her.
During closing arguments, his lawyer painted Jimenez as a chivalrous man falling on the sword and taking blame for the little girl’s abuse: “The majority of evidence has him not in the company of the child as much as the mother is. Quite often, he’s not there. Quite often, in five weeks of this baby’s life, he is elsewhere without this baby, not around the baby.”
Ultimately, the judge agreed with the prosecution, saying Jimenez was a frustrated father of two babies who would have done anything to stop his newborn daughter from crying and screaming. She said he twisted and squeezed her, lashing her about so violently, it caused brain damage and, ultimately, her death.
Following the trial, Jimenez was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. His sentencing was set for Dec. 13.
In a Family Court ruling in May 2015, after a petition from the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, Jimenez lost his parental rights to the surviving child. That ruling was later upheld by the state Supreme Court.