Closing arguments heard in Ex-Marine's murder trial

FRESNO, Calif.

/*Robert Quiroz&*/, 25, is on trial for the murder of his infant son, but he got a small victory Friday, even before the lawyers made their closing arguments.

Prosecutors decided Friday not to pursue first degree murder charges. They're still going after second degree, and the last thing the jury heard was that Quiroz is a guilty man.

Five years after he admittedly killed his 3-month-old son, Robert Quiroz is nearing the end of his legal journey. In his last chance to control his client's fate, his attorney admitted Quiroz is not an innocent man.

"Robert is not a murderer," said defense attorney Michael Idiart. "He's guilty of involuntary manslaughter."

But prosecutors argued, a murderer is exactly what Quiroz is. They say he acted with malice when he grabbed his crying son, cracked his ribs, and then escalated the violent encounter.

"He squeezed him," said prosecutor Mike Frye. "He had a choice to say 'Ah, I'm just going to put him back in the chair. I'm going to step outside. I'm going to cool down. I'm going to reflect on this.' He had that ability, but he chose -- it was not an accident -- he chose to slam him down."

Quiroz walked jurors through the deadly incident on Wednesday, but said he couldn't bring himself to show them the actual speed at which he put baby Roman onto a couch. Prosecutors said that's because it would've been repulsive to see it in real time.

The baby suffered a complex fracture coroners said is usually associated with a high velocity impact. But he couldn't rule out some other possibilities. The defense team is hoping that'll create reasonable doubt for the jury.

"You can talk until the cows come home about what kind of fall or what kind of injury or what kind of blow caused that," Idiart said. "No one really know other than it's considerable force."

Jurors will have the whole weekend to think about the case before coming back on Monday to start talking to each other about a verdict.

Even without the first degree murder charges, Quiroz could still face a life sentence.

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