FAIRFIELD — Jurors in the murder trial for a Suisun City man accused of killing his 3-month-old foster child heard from the defendant Tuesday, but not in a way that was helpful for his defense.
Prosecutors played a recording of the first police interview with Reginald Tanubagijo, 57, who authorities believe injured the child, causing fatal brain damage on the night of Nov. 29, 2010.
Tanubagijo has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and felony child abuse causing death.
As the infant was lying unconscious and breathing with the help of a respirator at Children’s Hospital Oakland, Tanubagijo calmly chatted about friends coming over the previous evening for a family visit. He described the friends leaving and his how he fixed a bottle of formula for the baby when the baby’s face turned red. He picked up and held the baby briefly before he realized something was very wrong.
Tanubagijo repeatedly explained to police that he never got frustrated or upset with the baby in the time preceding the 911 call after the baby stopped breathing.
Jurors also watched part of a second police interview Tanubagijo did with police several hours after the first interview, after police had talked with doctors and learned about the devastating severity of the baby’s head injury.
The rest of the video of the second interview will be shown to jurors Wednesday morning. The video shows police confronting Tanubagijo about the baby’s brain damage and Tanubagijo telling authorities for the first time that the baby had fallen off a kitchen table, hitting his head on the granite floor.
After the video is finished, the prosecution on Wednesday is expected to call Dr. Rachel Gilgoff, a child abuse pediatrician with the Center for Child Protection at the hospital, who will explain why she believes the injuries were from criminal conduct and not from an accidental tumble from a table.
Tanubagijo’s defense attorney, Jaye Ryan, has not said whether her client will take the witness stand in the trial, which is expected to continue through next week.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.