Former neighbors of a Pawtucket man standing trial for the alleged murder of his daughter testified Tuesday about mistreatment of the girl they observed shortly before she died.
Yamaris Flores and her mother Maria Rodriguez said they lived in the apartment above Jorge DePina back in 2013, when DePina is accused of killing his 10-year-old daughter Aleida.
Flores said she brought her children to Aleida’s birthday party on June 15, 2013.
”She looked very unhappy,” Flores testified. “She seemed very sad for the birthday girl.”
Flores said Aleida wore a pink shawl over her arms, despite the June heat. She noticed that Aleida did not join the other kids who were jumping in a bouncy house.
“She had a little shawl over her pink dress and it fell off, and I was helping her adjust the shawl and I said, ‘hey, it’s your birthday, why don’t you go play?’” Flores said. “She just looked and said, ‘my dad won’t let me,’ and walked away.”
Two weeks later, Aleida was dead. The prosecution is aiming to prove that Jorge DePina dealt the fatal blow, but his defense team argues his mistreatment of Aleida does not prove that he killed her.
Her death was caused by a perforated intestine after blunt force trauma, according to the state medical examiner’s office.
The former Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Christina Stanley, also testified Tuesday about the autopsy she performed on Aleida the day after she died. She said it took more than five hours just to do the external exam, because of the number of injuries she had to document.
Pointing at a diagram of a child’s body, Stanley described scars, bruises, abrasions and “healing lacerations” all over her body.
She said was “shocked” at how many lacerations were on her back and the back of her legs, especially since she had lacked any injuries on the front of her shins and knees, which would be typical of a 10-year-old.
Earlier in the trial, the prosecution showed the jury videos of DePina hitting and whipping Aleida while yelling at her to eat.
Flores said she saw signs of injuries.
“I noticed some circular marks on her arms,” she recalled.
The day before Aleida died, Flores said she remembered seeing her outside with Jorge as he fixed his car, and he was yelling at his daughter.
“I know he used the word ‘estupido,’” Flores recalled, translating the word to mean “stupid.”
The defense argues that even if DePina mistreated his daughter, it doesn’t mean he killed her. They’ll be given the chance to present their case once the prosecution rests.