Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
FATHER CONVICTED OF MURDERING 2-MONTH-OLD BABY DAUGHTER BY THROWING AND SHAKING HER
*Defendant changed his plea mid-jury trial during cross examination of his testimony
SANTA ANA – A father was convicted today of murdering his 2-month-old baby daughter by throwing her onto a couch and shaking her in his Santa Ana apartment. Christian Trinidad Gonzalez, 25, Santa Ana, was in his sixth day of a jury trial today and changed his plea mid-trial during cross-examination of his testimony by the People. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of second degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.
On March 17, 2009, Gonzalez returned home from work and had dinner with his family. After dinner, his wife and 2-year-old daughter walked to a laundry room in the apartment complex. Gonzalez stayed to care for his 2-month-old daughter, Iliana, and became frustrated when she began to cry. He violently shook the baby and threw her onto a couch before going to another room and leaving her alone for several minutes. When he returned, Iliana was not breathing. Gonzalez then called 911.
Iliana never regained consciousness and was transported to St. Joseph Hospital of Orange. Doctors contacted the police after examining the baby and finding injuries consistent with abusive head trauma, including significant bleeding inside her head, severe retinal hemorrhages in both eye, and brain swelling. Iliana was kept on ventilators for two days before being declared brain dead March 19, 2009. When interviewed by police, Gonzalez repeatedly lied and gave various accounts of what happened to Illiana.
The jury trial against Gonzalez began on July 19, 2011. He testified today, July 27, 2011, that he had been feeding the baby, but she was having a tough time eating. He claimed to have set her on the couch and found her non-responsive when he returned from using the restroom. During cross examination by the People, Gonzalez was unable to explain why he had previously told investigating officers that he had shaken Illiana.
While the People were still cross-examining the defendant, Gonzalez asked to speak with his attorney. He changed his plea from not guilty to guilty mid-trial and was sentenced by the court immediately.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.