A judge Friday set a date for jury selection in the murder trial of a 24-year-old Blythe man suspected of intentionally releasing the hand of an 18-month-old toddler while walking him upstairs, causing him to tumble onto his head.
Jordan Bracamonte was arrested April 29, 2015, following an investigation by Blythe police officers regarding a toddler who was brought into a local hospital with major head injuries, according to police.
Hospital staff said the father brought in the unconscious child in critical condition, Lt. Jeff Wade said at the time.
Along with the murder count, Bracamonte is charged with four counts of spousal abuse and one count each of assault on a child under 8 resulting in death and false imprisonment.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Otis Sterling met with the prosecutor in the case, as well as the public defender representing Bracamonte in court Friday to set important dates for next week.
On Monday, the judge will hear a motion asking for the domestic violence-related charges to be tried separately from counts related to the toddler’s death. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday.
According to court documents, the toddler, Mario Perez Jr., was the son of a man living with the couple in their apartment at the time of the murder. Bracamonte’s wife would watch the toddler while his father was away.
The defendant allegedly admitted that the day before the Mario was taken to the hospital, the child had spilled food on himself. Bracamonte was watching him at the time, so he walked the toddler upstairs to bathe, but before they reached the top, he released the toddler because he was “whining and crying,” according to a statement of facts compiled by the public defender listed in the motion to sever.
“Bracamonte stated that he thought the child would just fall on his behind, but letting go of his grasp caused the child to fall down the stairs and hit his head,” the document read.
The admission was included during witness testimony during the defendant’s preliminary hearing, although it was not immediately clear whether Bracamonte made the admission to authorities or another party.
On the day of the alleged fall, the victim’s father saw a bump on the toddlers head, but Bracamonte merely said the baby had fallen. The next day, the toddler reportedly had some kind of seizure, spurring the father to take him to Palo Verde Hospital in Blythe.
The child was then airlifted to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where he was briefly on life-support until his death on May 1, 2015.
Bracamonte is in custody at the Indio jail on $10 million bail.