When he asked for help from neighbors on the morning of Sept.14, 2011, Julio Crawford, 21, said his girlfriend’s son, 15-month-old Isreal “Izzy” Perez, had fallen from a bed and was unresponsive.

“I asked him what happened and he said he thought (the child) had fell off the bed because he was in the shower,” Maria Lucio testified.

Lucio, who lived next door to Crawford and his live-in girlfriend, Angie Mota, was testifying in Crawford’s trial on injury-to-a-child and serious bodily injury charges.

But prosecutor Chris DiMartino told the jury during the punishment phase of Crawford’s trial that he changed his story when confronted with medical evidence that the child had facial bruising and severe brain trauma.

“The baby was crying and I was upset, and because the baby was crying, I whacked him across the head and knocked the baby onto the floor,” Crawford said in his statement to police.

Crawford pleadef guilty on Tuesday morning and testimony began immediately in the punishment phase of his trial.

He is facing a punishment range of from 5 to 99 years to life in prison. But he is eligible for probation if the jury’s sentence is less than 10 years.

Testimony will continue on Wednesday in Judge Melisa Skinner’s 290th District Court.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.