GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The murder trial of Pedro Navarro, accused in the 2005 death of 2-year-old Aiyanna Cisneros, is now in the hands of a jury.
He's on trial for felony murder -- accused of killing Aiyanna while abusing her.
Navarro was arrested in March after a woman he had children with in 2009, Chyann Gonzalez, told police that Navarro admitted to abusing Aiyanna the day she died. That new information was enough for detectives to get a warrant to arrest Navarro for felony murder.
When Gonzalez got on the stand during the murder trial, she said she did not remember saying that to police.
Navarro's defense attorney Paul McDonagh said during closing arguments that he doesn't believe Gonzalez's testimony is credible. He stated the the police detective who interviewed Gonzalez was focused only on the fact that he was "on the brink of solving a seven-year-old murder case."
McDonagh went on to imply that the detective influenced Gonzalez's testimony.
An autopsy determined Aiyana died from "blunt force trauma" to her abdomen and chest, which caused internal bleeding. A medical examiner testified during the course of the trial that Aiyanna had 30 broken bones and a punctured lung at the time of her death.
"Ladies and gentleman, I'll say it once, I'll say it again: How can anyone say this child was not the victim of child abuse?" said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Helen Brinkman.
McDonagh told jurors that Aiyanna's mother Samantha Winkler was responsible for her daughter's death and not his client.
Winkler is currently serving 60 years in prison for the second-degree murder of her daughter. She pleaded guilty to the charge several years ago, admitting that she was negligent and should have done more to protect her daughter.
Winkler testified that she believed Navarro abused her daughter.
"It's hard not to hate [Winkler] for what she did to this child," said Brinkman. She went on to tell jurors that Winkler is serving time for her crime -- and now it's time for Navarro to serve time for his.
"This amount of injury is not a mom mad at her child. This is a tremendous amount of force. This is a person out of control anger," said Brinkman.
"Ms. Winkler advised that Pedro had taken the daughter to her bedroom for 10 to 15 minutes, and after that point is when the daughter started exhibiting signs of being abused," said Grand Rapids detective Dan Adams in court documents. "It took the child four days to die."
Aiyana's father and stepmother were in court for the trial. Both wiped away tears during the prosecutor's closing argument.
In closing arguments, defense attorneys said that Aiyana's mother Winkler was responsible for her death, not Navarro. McDonagh told jurors that Winkler was upset that Aiyanna's father had left her and married another woman -- and Aiyanna was calling that woman "mom."
He said Winkler was afraid the girl's father would win full custody Aiyanna.
"Sometimes pain and heartache can be too much for a person to bear. We lash out. We do things we wouldn't normally do and then hate ourselves right after we do it," said McDonagh about Winkler. "I submit that [Winkler's] responsible for these injuries. If she can't have her -- if she can't keep Aiyanna -- nobody else will."
Prosecutors disagreed, and told jurors that the only reason Winkler testified during the trial was because she wanted to do one last good thing for her daughter -- tell the truth.
"She pled guilty. She acknowledged what she did was wrong and as she said there's nothing she can do now," said Brinkman.
The jury went into deliberations on the case around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Around 5 p.m., they decided to break for the evening and continue deliberations Friday morning. They could decide Navarro is guilty of either felony or second degree murder. They could also find him not guilty.
Two other people, who were inside the residence at the time, escaped safely.
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