Father held for trial in baby's death

Posted: July 04, 2014

Marlene Aviles called Joshua Gutierrez a new father: "He didn't know how to watch the baby. It was his first time."

Still, nothing prepared her for the sight of Gutierrez's walking down the stairs of the East Frankford house holding his 6-month-old daughter, Amarianna, and saying, "I think something's wrong with the baby."

There was, but authorities allege it had nothing to do with his being a tentative new father.

"This baby had severe head and brain trauma," said Assistant District Attorney Nick Liermann. "Her eyes were both detached from her skull. She had four broken ribs, and adult and child bite marks."

Municipal Court Judge David C. Shuter agreed and on Wednesday ordered Gutierrez, 23, to stand trial for murder in the June 21, 2013, death of the infant.

Aviles, who lived in the Mulberry Street house with her husband and children, was the prosecution's key witness at Gutierrez's preliminary hearing.

The house belonged to her grandfather but she lived there with her extended family, including Amarianna's mother. Aviles said Gutierrez did not live there.

Aviles testified that Gutierrez arrived that day with his young nephew and spent most of the day with the baby in a bedroom until he came downstairs about 3 p.m.

Aviles said her grandfather tried to resuscitate the infant and the baby began breathing before an ambulance arrived to take the infant and Gutierrez to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. Amarianna died three days later.

Defense attorney David Rudenstein argued that no one saw Gutierrez beating the infant and said others in the house could have been responsible.

Rudenstein argued that Gutierrez should be tried on no charge more serious than third-degree murder, telling Shuter: "He's a young dad taking good care of a child. Something happened to that child."

Shuter, however, held Gutierrez on a general charge of murder, saying it would be up to a jury to decide the degree of homicide if it found him guilty.


jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

www.inquirer.com/crimeandpunishment

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