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April 29th, 2008
Accused father takes the stand in extreme child abuse trial

Managing Editor

A Dripping Springs area man accused of repeatedly biting and beating his three children told jurors on Monday his own abusive upbringing and heavy drinking caused him to mistreat his children.

Taking the stand in his own defense, Cesar Mojica Carmona, 24, testified that he was regularly hit by his grandparents while being raised in Mexico and later by his mother when they emigrated to the United States. As an adult, he said, he often drank to the point of unconsciousness and did not remember causing many of the injuries investigators found on his four-year-old daughter and three-year-old fraternal twins.

“I thought I was doing the right thing. Now I know it wasn’t,” Carmona said.

If convicted in a trial that started last week, Carmona faces up to 99 years in prison for each of 14 counts of first-degree felony injury to a child. Sara AmayaAwaiting her own trial on 15 counts of child abuse, Carmona’s wife, Sara Amaya, 23, invoked her right against self incrimination when called to testify on Monday.

Authorities say the children, then three- and two- years old, were covered in bite marks when removed from the couple’s mobile home in October 2006. Last week, three medical experts said their examinations uncovered a number of other injuries including cuts, bruises, burns and scars. Both of the twins, a girl and boy, had multiple rib fractures and broken legs that had not been treated, authorities said.

The children were severely malnourished, each weighing less than 30 pounds. A child born after the others were seized is also in foster care. Their guardian testified on Friday that the children became panicky and disturbed when they saw their parents’ photos on TV during a newscast.

The trial continues today in District Judge Jack Robison’s courtroom.

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