In taped police interview, Joliet man denied killing 9-month-old boy
BY JANET LUNDQUIST email@example.com September 20, 2013 5:18PM
Santos Loza | Will County Sheriff's Office
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:41AM
The man accused of beating a baby to death in 2008 quietly and repeatedly denied committing the crime during an interview with police after the child’s death.
The two Joliet police detectives who interviewed Santos Loza told him that the baby, Kevion Bender, suffered head injuries so severe they could not have been caused by a fall or roughhousing with a young sibling.
Loza, 33, is on trial in Will County for Bender’s murder, accused of beating his girlfriend’s 9-month-old baby to death while he watched the child alone in his Joliet home the night of Oct. 26, 2008.
In a video of a police interview with Loza, which was shown in court Friday afternoon as prosecutors continued to present their case, Loza sat at a table facing the detectives.
The night of baby-sitting was uneventful, according to the summary Loza gave the detectives. The baby was crying when his mother, Sandra Sitko, left for work. Then Loza and Bender sat on a couch and laid on a bed to watch televised football and baseball until Loza put Bender to bed about 10 p.m.
Sitko returned to Loza’s Woodside Court residence in Joliet after work with Kevion’s brother about 11 p.m. and spent the night, she previously testified. Sitko discovered her son dead when she checked on him the next morning when Loza got up for work, about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 27, 2008.
Loza was arrested for Bender’s murder in August 2010.
During the videotaped interview, Loza first suggested perhaps Bender suffocated under a blanket during the night, or that his young brother caused the injuries by knocking him around.
But detectives told Loza the baby’s injuries — more than 18 bruises and scrapes on his tiny body, mainly on his head, but also on his arm, back and buttocks, as well as fractured ribs and a cracked skull, prosecutors said — were caused by an adult.
“Who would have done that?” asked police Sgt. Linda Odom, who at the time was a detective investigating Bender’s death.
“Did you hurt this baby?” she asked.
Loza, in a soft voice, denied striking Bender, and said he did not lose his temper at any point during the night he watched Bender alone.
Loza’s trial is to continue Monday.