Dad guilty in shaken-baby case

A Daly City man accused of killing his 18-month-old son in a case of possible shaken-baby syndrome was found guilty Thursday of second-degree murder.

After one day of jury deliberation, Pedro Joaquin Olivas, 50, was convicted of killing his son, Fernando, in April 2004.

The defense surprisingly rested its case before putting anyone on the stand Tuesday, even after Olivas’ attorney, Scott Furstman, initially indicated that Olivas would take the stand in his own defense.

Furstman’s defense largely depended on Olivas’ explanation that Fernando fell from his bed when Olivas was not looking.

Attorneys said the boy then got up and fell again, hitting his head on a nearby heater.

On the night of the incident, Olivas had been taking care of Fernando while the child’s mother was at work at San Francisco International Airport.

Furstman said that Olivas discovered that Fernando had fallen from his high chair just days earlier. Olivas did not fully cooperate with police, Furstman said, because he wanted to protect the boy’s mother.

Throughout the trial, medical experts refuted the defense’s theory that the boy had merely fallen, noting that Fernando had retinal hemorrhaging and bruises along his limbs, signs of shaken-baby syndrome.

Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini said that Olivas’ story that Fernando fell from a bed and hit his head did not match forensic evidence.

On the night of the incident, Olivas took Fernando to Seton Medical Center in Daly City. The boy was subsequently transferred to Stanford Medical Center, where he died a few days later.

Olivas faces 15 years to life in state prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5.

bfoley@examiner.com

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