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Father Pleads Innocent in Death of Baby

May 20, 2003

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A man pleaded innocent Monday to a murder charge in the death of his baby, who was removed from life support by court order after an alleged beating left him in a coma.

Moises Ibarra, 24, was held on $1 million bail in the death of 22-month-old Christopher Ibarra, who had been on life support since December 2001.

Ibarra had previously pleaded innocent to child abuse for allegedly shaking Christopher and throwing him into a crib when he was 3 months old. Prosecutors filed murder and other charges after life support was removed May 11. Ibarra faces 25 years to life in prison.

His attorney questioned whether Ibarra could receive a fair trial and said the baby’s mother, Tamara Sepulveda, has said in several interviews that she wants Ibarra to go to prison.

``We’re obviously concerned about the spin put on this case,″ David Dworakowski said outside court.

The lawyer also questioned the murder charge, which was filed before the autopsy was completed.

District Attorney Anthony Rackauckas said investigators believed they had enough evidence to file the charge despite pending autopsy results.

``The cause of death is what put the baby into the coma,″ he said.

Sepulveda had asked to have her child taken off life support last year. Ibarra objected, saying he was holding out for a miracle recovery.

An appeals court ordered life support withdrawn after concluding the baby was in a persistent, vegetative state.

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