Ex-Marine on trial for infant son's death

FRESNO, Calif.

Day two of the murder trial against /*Robert Quiroz*/ focused on his attitude toward his three-month-old son, and the explanations he gave for the boy's death.

Less than three months passed between the day Candice Quiroz died giving birth to her son Roman and the day Roman died of a fractured skull.

One of Candice's sisters says when she talked to Robert about his son's death, he said Candice would be mad at him.

/*Roman Quiroz*/ died on a tattered, old couch. The couch didn't spend another night in the house.

"Robert had told me Roman had died on the couch," said /*Kami Short*/, Candice's older sister. "He choked on his bottle. That's why I wanted the couch out of the house before I went in."

Short had allowed Roman and his father, Robert Quiroz, to live in her house after her sister died giving birth to the boy.

We're not allowed to show you Short's face as she testified Wednesday, but she talked to Action News shortly after her brother-in-law was arrested for murder.

Short had several conversations with Quiroz about how Roman died. At first, she says he told her Roman died from choking.

"Did he say anything else during that conversation?" asked prosecutor Mike Frye.

"Just that my sister was going to be mad at him," she said. "Candice (would be mad.)"

After investigators determined Roman's skull was fractured, Quiroz told his sister-in-law he may have accidentally put Roman's head into the armrest of the couch. That's when Short started to think something sinister might've happened.

"It was hard to believe he could've fractured his skull by hitting his head on the arm of the couch," Short testified.

Short said Quiroz never bonded with Roman and blamed the boy for his mother's death. But defense attorney Michael Idiart also attacked Short's credibility -- getting her to admit she sometimes smoked marijuana while Roman and her own kids were at home.

As we mentioned, Short got rid of the couch where Roman died. It hasn't been destroyed, though. In fact, it's coming to court during this trial.

Jurors will be able to look at it in a courthouse basement, probably in the next couple days.

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