EXCLUSIVE: A final piece of forensic evidence has caused yet another delay in the trial of a Fairview man accused of killing his girlfriend’s baby daughter by beating her and holding her head underwater in a bathtub.
Yoher Jimenez, 27, must now wait until February before a trial date can be set in the death of 1-year-old Baby Victoria, in a case marked by repeated delays.
Public defender Ian Silvera told Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi in Hackensack that a medical expert for his client has requested new slides of the child’s spinal cord from the county prosecutor’s expert to examine as part of his preparation of a comprehensive forensic report.
Silvera ( above, left ) took responsibility, saying that he “didn’t act right away” when the expert first requested the slides because he’d been out sick and “had to catch up” when he returned to work. However, he also noted that it took nearly a year from when his client was arrested until an indictment was returned.
Bergen County First Assistant Prosecutor John Higgins, who said he only learned of Silvera’s request today, reluctantly agreed to the delay.
The defense expert had the option of flying to the University of Missouri, where the state’s expert is a member of the staff, Higgins told the judge. He also conceded that the state’s expert could prepare new slides and send them next week.
Silvera said it would be impractical for his witness to fly to Missouri because he maintains an extremely busy schedule flying around the country to testify in cases.
The judge told both sides to return on Feb. 24 for a trial date, adding that it won’t likely begin before early summer.
The trial was also delayed in July, after Jimenez dropped his previous attorney. Silvera took up the case and enlisted his own expert to to obtain and review MRIs and CT scans conducted at Palisades and St. Joseph’s medical centers on the child.
As a result, it’s now more than 3½ years since Jimenez’s arrest on charges of murder, aggravated assault, attempted murder and child endangerment in connection with the April 4, 2010 incident.
He remains held on $1 million bail in the Bergen County Jail.
Jimenez and his girlfriend had just moved from a relative’s house in Hasbrouck Heights to Harding Place in Fairview when she went shopping, leaving Victoria — the daughter of a different father — with him.
Police called to the home later found Victoria unresponsive. She was first taken to Palisades and then transferred to St. Joe’s, where it was discovered that she had a skull fracture and several rib fractures.
She died a few days later.
Jimenez, a Colombian national, denied killing her.
She “was in the crib and [I] heard the baby coughing and gave her water,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT through a relative at the time. “Then [I] came back to check on her and she was pale and her lips were purple.”
Family members took to Facebook and other social networks, insisting that Jimenez was innocent.
Victoria’s mother, Jakeline Jimenez, was charged with child endangerment after investigators determined that she knew enough not to leave Victoria alone with her boyfriend because of “past abuse at [his] hands,” Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time.
The INS also sought to detain her. After a month in the county jail, she was released.
STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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