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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The court-martial of a Misawa-based sailor accused of killing his infant daughter started Wednesday at Yokosuka.

Seaman Recruit Jonathan Delgado is charged with fatally abusing 2-month-old Kylie Delgado on July 15, 2006, in a Misawa Air Base housing tower. The baby died two days later on Okinawa after life support was withdrawn.

Prosecutors claim the 22-year-old Naval Information Operation Command sailor killed the child by “shaking her to death.”

“She did not die from disease or by accident — she died in the hands of the man entrusted to her care,” prosecutor Cmdr. Dave Karpel told jurors during opening statements.

Delgado’s defense said that the evidence instead points to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Defense attorney Lt. James Jung called shaken baby syndrome a disputed theory and said prosecutors “jumped the gun” on their assumption.

“Nobody saw Delgado upset, no one heard Kylie cry, no one saw him shake her,” Jung said. “Just because a baby died, do not assume it was murdered.”

The trial opened with tearful testimony from the baby’s mother, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michelle Delgado, who described her daughter as “always active” and “very happy.”

Michelle Delgado said she and her husband, who were married in 2005, differed in terms of their child-care philosophies after Kylie was born. She believed that young children should not “cry themselves to sleep” and Delgado believed in a method where children learn to comfort themselves.

She testified that she never shook Kylie nor did she ever see her husband shake their daughter. Kylie was “perfect” when she left for work on July 14, she said. She said she got a phone call around 6:30 a.m. from a friend telling her to go to the base hospital’s emergency room.

The baby was later medevaced to U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa where it was established she had no brain activity. Life support was withdrawn two days later, Michelle Delgado said.

According to prosecution and defense opening statements Wednesday, Jonathan Delgado took the baby to a colleague’s house after his wife left for work. He later went to a card game, leaving the baby in the care of his colleague’s wife and daughter.

He returned with the baby to his apartment, watched a movie with a friend who stayed overnight on the couple’s futon, and went to sleep with the baby beside him — common practice in their home, according to court testimony.

Jonathan Delgado maintains he woke up to find the baby “blue” and immediately woke his friend to perform CPR and resuscitate the child, according to his attorneys. The prosecution alleged Delgado shook the baby when he was alone with her, hard enough to cause bleeding in the baby’s brain and eyes and to crack three ribs.

About 20 people — including several doctors — are scheduled to testify in the case, and proceedings are expected to last through next week, military judge Capt. Dennis Bengtson told jurors.


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