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Father changes plea in court, admits killing infant daughter

July 27, 2011 |  7:05 pm

Photo: Christian Gonzalez. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office A Santa Ana father charged in the murder of his 2-month-old daughter changed his plea to guilty in the middle of his trial Wednesday, and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Christian Gonzalez, 25, was accused of shaking and throwing his daughter, Iliana, after she began to cry in their apartment on March 17, 2009. He left the room for a few minutes. Upon returning, he found his daughter unconscious and called 911.

She never regained consciousness and died two days later.

A doctor who examined the baby told police her injuries were consistent with a beating. Police interviewed Gonzalez repeatedly, and he gave varying accounts of what had happened.

Gonzalez went on trial July 19 and took the stand in his own defense Wednesday. After questioning by his attorney, Gonzalez was being cross-examined by Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Steve McGreevy. McGreevy said he’d been asking Gonzalez about conflicts in his testimony and that of earlier statements he and others had given about his daughter’s health.

“We were in the part where I was asking, 'Did you shake the baby?’ He’d said earlier, 'I don’t believe so.’ I said, 'Well, you were there. I wasn’t,’ ” McGreevy said in a telephone interview.

Gonzalez asked to speak to his attorney. Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg said, “Now? Can’t it wait?’ ” according to McGreevy. Gonzalez said it could not. Froeberg adjourned the case for lunch.

When Gonzalez returned, he told the judge he wanted to plead guilty, McGreevy said. Froeberg accepted his change of plea and immediately sentenced Gonzalez.

“It was most certainly unique,” said McGreevy, who has prosecuted close to 100 cases in his 14-year career. “I’ve seen it happen on TV. I’ve never seen it happen in court.”


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-- Sam Quinones

Photo: Christian Gonzalez. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office