TWIN FALLS — The trial for a Twin Falls man accused of violently shaking a two-month-old baby is set to wrap up Thursday.
Timothy Lee Evangelista, 28, was arrested in March 2017 after his girlfriend’s baby was sent to an intensive care unit in Boise with bleeding in the brain and bruises on his arms and testicles. He is charged with aggravated battery, a felony.
A jury trial for Evangelista began May 8 and has featured testimony from witnesses including the baby’s mother, Jade Rothrock, Twin Falls Police Detective Ken Rivers, and Evangelista himself.
The investigation began on March 2 of last year, when paramedics responded to a report of an infant having breathing problems, according to court documents. The baby was taken to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, then flown to St. Luke’s in Boise.
An opthamologist from Boise who saw the baby testified last week, telling the court that his symptoms pointed to a traumatic, non-accidental injury. An emergency doctor at St. Luke’s Magic Valley similarly said at the time of the incident that he believed the child’s injuries were caused by abuse, according to court documents.
When questioned by Rivers last March, Evangelista first said that dogs in the house had run into the child’s baby carrier, causing the injuries.
He later told Rivers that he had accidentally shaken the baby several times, once when the baby’s blanket got caught on his carrier and again when Evangelista tripped over a dog while holding him. Evangelista admitted that he shook the baby back and forth while holding him by the arms, but said it happened because he tripped, Rivers wrote in an affidavit at the time. Evangelista also said he did not deliberately pinch the baby’s testicles. The jury will begin deliberation after attorneys deliver their closing arguments Thursday.
If he is found guilty of aggravated battery, Evangelista faces up to a 15 year sentence.