STEVENS POINT – Prosecutors and defense attorneys promised conflicting views Tuesday about who caused the injuries that led to a toddler’s death in Portage County.
Reymundo Perez, 28, of Bancroft faces first-degree reckless homicide charges after prosecutors say he slammed his girlfriend’s 2-year-old child several times on the ground before calling 911. His trial started Tuesday in Portage County Circuit Court and is scheduled to last more than a week.
According to the criminal complaint, Perez was baby-sitting Felix Villa-Martinez in his Bancroft mobile home while the child’s mother, Beatriz Villa-Martinez — Perez’s girlfriend at the time — was at work.
The complaint says that on Oct. 26, 2011, after Felix fell and was crying, Perez shook the child and slammed him to the ground twice. Felix fell silent after the second time and later lost consciousness, according to the criminal complaint. When Perez couldn’t wake the 2-year-old, he dialed 911.
Felix died two days later at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.
Portage County Assistant District Attorney Veronica Isherwood said in her opening statements that Felix would play quietly with Perez but break out crying when his mother, Villa-Martinez, would enter the room because he was attached to her.
But defense attorney Gary Schmaus painted a different picture during his opening remarks. Felix started crying when his mother entered the room because of a long history of abuse from his mother, Schmaus said. Felix died from injuries that stemmed from abuse prior to Perez watching him that day, he said.
Perez watched the opening statements from the defense table, listening to the testimony through a pair of interpreters.
Both attorneys plan to bring medical experts with different explanations for the injuries that Felix endured, including what Isherwood described as a severed spine and brain swelling. Dr. Robert Corliss for the prosecution and Dr. Janice Ophoven for the defense are scheduled to testify starting Monday.
The trial is scheduled to continue through next week Thursday.
B.C. Kowalski can be reached at 715-345-2251. Find him on Twitter as @BCreporter.