Trial begins for accused Joliet baby killer
BY JANET LUNDQUIST email@example.com September 17, 2013 4:22PM
Santos Loza | Will County Sheriff's Office
Updated: October 19, 2013 7:20PM
Nine-month-old Kevion Bender died with more than 18 bruises and scrapes on his tiny body, Will County prosecutors said Tuesday.
The wounds were concentrated on his head, but he had marks on his arm and back, as well as fractured ribs and a cracked skull, prosecutors said.
Bender died at the hands of a man his mother met on the Internet, authorities say.
A jury trial began Tuesday for Santos Loza, 33, who is accused of killing his girlfriend’s baby the first time he ever watched the child alone.
“This man over here,” Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher Koch said, pointing to Loza, “the defendant, beat that child to death. And we’re going to show you how that happened.”
Bender’s mother, Sandra Sitko, lived in West Chicago and met Loza online, defense attorney Joseph Lopez said. Three months later, on Oct. 27, 2008, Loza watched her baby while Sitko went to work at a McDonald’s near her home.
Sitko returned to Loza’s Woodside Court residence in Joliet with Kevion’s half-brother about 11 p.m. and decided they would spend the night.
Sitko discovered her son dead when she checked on him about 4:30 a.m. the next day.
The hysterical woman can be heard sobbing in the background as Loza speaks to a Joliet 911 dispatcher. Prosecutors played a recording of the call in court during a pretrial hearing.
“You killed my baby,” the anguished mother cries as Loza talks to the 911 dispatcher.
Tuesday morning, emergency personnel who first responded to the 911 call testified about what they saw that day.
Joliet paramedic David Eichholzer, who rushed the baby out of the house and into the back of a waiting ambulance, said they stopped trying to revive the infant after they cut off his sleeper and found he was stiff and cool. Monitors confirmed there was no electrical activity in his heart, he said.
Loza was arrested for the baby’s death in August 2010.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.