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Mistrial declared in 6-month-old's killing

A mistrial was declared April 8 in the trial of a father accused of killing his 6-month-old son in East Compton.

Jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict on two counts against David Gomez, 26. The jury was split, 8-4, on the charge of second-degree murder and 10-2 on child abuse causing death, the prosecutor on the case said.

On Oct. 4, 2012, Abel Gomez was admitted to Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach with skull fractures and brain injuries. Earlier that night, David Gomez knocked on a neighbor's door holding an injured Abel, who was short of breath. Abel died the next day.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Cops told jurors during closing arguments Gomez repeatedly slammed his son’s head to the floor because he was angry and annoyed with the boy's crying.

An agitated Gomez allegedly said to the infant "watch what happens when your mom and grandma leave," Cops said.

The boy's mother then asked whether she should stay home from work to take care of the kids, but Gomez said they needed money for rent and couldn't afford her taking a day off, the prosecutor added.

Gomez's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Traci Blackburn, argued the father was standing and holding his two young sons in his arms when the older brother reared back, causing Gomez to accidentally drop Abel, who fell three feet onto his head.

The prosecutor dismissed that notion, saying the boy's injuries were inconsistent with that story. Abel would be the "one in a million baby" if that account were true, Cops told jurors.

The boy's treating physician in the pediatric intensive care unit and a child abuse specialist said the boy died of abusive blunt force trauma. The county coroner ruled the death a homicide.

Cops said Gomez's many accounts of what happened was further proof of his guilt. At first he told the neighbor the boy had hit his head on a car seat, she said. Later, when talking to police, Gomez admitted to slamming his son to the ground, a statement Blackburn argued was a false confession.

"That boy fell from his arms, but he never intended it and never threw that baby to the ground," Blackburn told jurors. "He failed to protect his son, and that's something he'll have to live with for the rest of his life."

Gomez remains in custody on $1-million bail. The district attorney intends to retry Gomez on the charges later this year, Cops said.

-- Ryan Menezes

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