Autopsy evidence in murder trial against Ex-Marine

FRESNO, Calif.

Former Fresno Marine Robert Quiroz was caring for his son when the little boy died. This is how a normal three-month-old child's skull should look. This is how coroners say Roman Quiroz's skull looked after his death.

The actual autopsy photos are too disturbing for television, but Dr. Michael Chambliss drew what he called a complex fracture on the picture of a normal child's skull. Chambliss testified the fracture went all the way through Roman's skull -- through 1/8 inch of bone. It also splintered the skull like an eggshell. Chambliss said it would take more than a simple fall to cause this particular fracture.

"It's a considerable amount of force," he said. "The amount of energy it takes to fracture that is more of a higher velocity type of injury."

Roman's father, Robert, has admitted to accidentally putting his son's head into the armrest of a couch. But Chambliss noticed more injuries to Roman at the autopsy. He said the boy had several broken ribs on both sides of his body and bruises on his chest that didn't seem associated with CPR or medical treatment. He said someone applied a crushing force to the ribs and ruled the infant's death a homicide.

"Roman's death is a case of fatal child abuse syndrome in which we have physical injuries in multiple locations," Chambliss said.

Robert Quiroz has denied causing the injuries to Roman's ribs. For the first time during the weeklong trial, Quiroz let his emotions show in court Tuesday. He covered his face to hide tears as Dr. Chambliss described Roman's injuries, and frowned as he looked away from jurors leaving the courtroom shortly afterwards.

Dr. Chambliss was the prosecution's last witness. The defense takes over on Wednesday and Quiroz is expected to testify in his own defense.

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