FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

Crime-courts

Testimony begins in foster father’s murder case

By From page A3 | July 10, 2014

Reginald Tanubagijo was convicted of killing a 3-month-old boy in his care in Suisun City. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic file 2010)

Reginald Tanubagijo was convicted of killing a 3-month-old boy in his care in Suisun City. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic file 2010)

FAIRFIELD — Testimony got underway Wednesday in the jury trial of a Suisun City foster father who faces a murder charge for the 2010 death of his 3-month-old foster child.

Reginald Tanubagijo, 57, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and felony child abuse causing death.

The prosecution case began with the police and paramedics who went to Tanubagijo’s home on the night of Nov. 29, 2010. The infant appeared to have choked on milk when the first police officer got to the house after Tanubagijo and his wife had called 911 and started CPR. The police officer took over the CPR effort until paramedics arrived and took the child to the hospital a few minutes later.

Prosecutor Robert Hightower told jurors that doctors at NorthBay Medical Center quickly discovered the child had a serious internal brain injury. The child was flown to Children’s Hospital Oakland, where he died several days later.

Hightower told jurors that proof of Tanubagijo’s guilt would be found in his initial description of the choking and then only after being confronted with news of the baby’s head trauma, adding that he had accidentally dropped the baby – and then his description of accidentally knocking the baby from a kitchen table, causing him to land head first on the granite flooring.

Authorities believe Tanubagijo violently shook the child and possibly struck the child’s head against an object, causing a severe head injury. Supporting that account will be the testimony of the doctor who conducted a partial autopsy on the baby. Dr. Michelle Jordan is expected to be on the witness stand throughout much of Thursday when the trial resumes.

Tanubagijo’s defense attorneys, Jaye Ryan and Thomas Maas, are expected to challenge Jordan’s findings. Ryan told jurors Wednesday that Jordan has a history of being enlisted by prosecutors who seek experts who concur with their beliefs.

Ryan told jurors the baby had prior health problems and that prosecutors had no evidence that Tanubagijo had been goaded by anything causing him to abruptly act out in an angry or hostile way.

Judge Robert Bowers has told jurors the trial would likely take three weeks.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the child’s biological mother is on hold until after the criminal trial.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
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Discussion | 10 comments

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  • not making any senseJuly 10, 2014 - 12:26 am

    Sick dude, even sicker mother who leaves her kid to foster care and then is trying to make a buck off of the death. Pretty sure there is a REason why you didn't have your child in the first place

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  • RitaJuly 10, 2014 - 9:27 am

    I thought we were supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. At this point, I have no reason but to believe his side of the story. That's why there is a trial. We are all quite aware that the prosecution will lie and do everything that they possibly can to win a case. In America, it isn't about justice, it is about winning a case. it's all about the numbers. A lot of prosecutors don't care if you're guilty or innocent. They care whether or not they can walk out of the courthouse and celebrate a win for the case. Shame on you all who prejudge this man and who use your racist remarks against him. You know nothing of the situation. You were NOT standing beside him when this occurred and neither was I. What you need to be saying is, I hope the truth prevails and that this man gets a fair trial. After all he is an American and God help him if he can get a fair trial in the land of the non-free and the home of the win at all costs legal system.

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  • gemmaJuly 10, 2014 - 7:57 pm

    What about the baby? Who is speaking for him? Who is giving him a fair trial? If this person said the baby "fell and landed head first on Granite"(who has Granite Floors?) the injuries had to be severe enough for him to say that happened. If the baby fell, he's responsible, because it happened on his watch. If he caused the baby's death, he has to pay. Too bad the baby never got his fair chance at anything in his short life.

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  • DumbassesJuly 10, 2014 - 12:42 am

    I agree how could you try suing for a child you gave away? Sounds like a druggy

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  • 2realJuly 10, 2014 - 5:46 am

    Back on the banana boat for this clown.

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  • noel bJuly 10, 2014 - 7:03 am

    give oh boy death row,,,

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  • RitaJuly 10, 2014 - 9:56 am

    I thought we were supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. At this point, I have no reason but to believe his side of the story. That's why there is a trial. We are all quite aware that the prosecution will lie and do everything that they possibly can to win a case. In America, it isn't about justice, it is about winning a case. it's all about the numbers. A lot of prosecutors don't care if you're guilty or innocent. They care whether or not they can walk out of the courthouse and celebrate a win for the case. Shame on you all who prejudge this man and who use your racist remarks against him. You know nothing of the situation. You were NOT standing beside him when this occurred and neither was I. What you need to be saying is, I hope the truth prevails and that this man gets a fair trial. After all he is an American and God help him if he can get a fair trial in the land of the non-free and the home of the win at all costs

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Monica GarciaJuly 10, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    When a child is taken by cps and put into a foster home it's not only because a mother gave up their child. When it comes to having ur child taken from u by cps all they need is an accusation of wrong doing not guilt and the child will be removed from the mothers care. Later on during a 6mon-a year process u can try to get ur child back by trying to prove the sustain wrong but no one gets there child back any sooner than 6 months. I hate cps and the foster system. My son was 6 months old when he was sexually abused in foster care. Cps would not even follow up on it not would the police take a report. My son is a year now and I still don't have him back. But know that as long as ignorance exists nothing changes but I will change this system somehow as so as I get my son back in my arms. These people need to be accountable for their actions and their neglect.

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  • gemmaJuly 10, 2014 - 7:54 pm

    Everybody knows CPS is pretty much worthless. They take the kids that shouldn't be taken, and don't take the ones who should be.I'm so sorry for what is happening to you and your son. I hope everything works out for you both.

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  • AnonymousJuly 17, 2014 - 6:51 pm

    No one wins in a situation like this! A baby has died, a mother lost her child, a foster parent is now on trial. No one wins, all extended families on all sides are affected, because no one can bring the baby back. Not all facts have been presented by the media and accidents do happen. We should be praying that the truth will be exposed and each family can begin the process of healing! I agree with "Rita" that we are in America where the law states that we are "innocent" until proven guilty.

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