Defense testimony in child death trial begins

Norbert Velasquez, domestic partner facing charges


Lawyers for Norbert Velasquez, 49, who is on trial in the death of his adopted daughter, suggested that the child may have suffered injuries earlier in her life that led to her death.

Velasquez (pictured) is facing injury to a child by omission charges following the child's Jan. 10, 2009, death.

Melody Velasquez, 3, was taken to the hospital a day after Velasquez told authorities that she fell down a flight of stairs.

Doctors said she died from blunt force trauma and had severe brain damage and multiple fractures.

On Friday, Dr. William Anderson, a medical examiner and pathologist, testified that records showed that Velasquez and his domestic partner Matthew Aranda, 48, were conscientious parents.

An example, he said, was their frequent "well child" doctor visits.

"I think it would show that they certainly were trying to keep up with everything," Anderson testified.

He suggested that the child's injuries may have been old injuries aggravated by the fall that proved to be fatal.

"These were old, healed fractures – the diagnosis on those is multiple, well-healed fractures," he said. "The second thing was that there is evidence of an old subdural hematoma."

Velasquez and his domestic partner Matthew Aranda, 48, took the child into foster care when she was 4 months old.

They formally adopted her just a month before her death.

Anderson suggested that she may have suffered the injuries when she was shaken by her biological parents before she was removed from their home.

Aranda is awaiting trial on murder charges. Both men are facing possible life sentences if they are convicted.

Testimony in Velasquez's trial resumes on Monday.

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