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10:21 AM Mon, Dec. 10th

Shaken-baby trial begins

The trial of a Kingman man accused of killing his infant daughter continued Wednesday with testimony from two medical professionals and two law enforcement officials.

Steven Zuncs, 21, is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the shaking death of his 7-week old daughter, Olivia Lara, on Nov.

15, 2002.

On Wednesday, the prosecution played a videotape of Zuncs admitting to shaking his daughter.

The infant's injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome, Dr.

Shabnum Matthews testified.

The doctor noted that the soft spot on the baby's head was bulging, which was evidence of brain swelling, and that she had a small abrasion on her forehead.

The baby's pupils did not dilate when a flashlight was shone into her eyes, which was evidence of severe brain trauma.

Matthews said the baby had bruises on the left side of her abdomen and on the right side of her back.

The baby's injuries were not consistent with falling 14 inches off a couch onto a carpeted floor, Matthews said.

Paramedic Annette Maher testified that when she arrived at the residence the baby did not have a pulse and was not breathing.

Maher said there were needle pricks on the bottom of the child's feet.

Kingman police Sgt.

Rusty Cooper testified Zuncs told him that his girlfriend, Lydia Lara, had gone to work the day of the incident and that the baby was sleeping.

Cooper said Zuncs told him he put the baby on a sofa and heard a thud.

The next day, however, Zuncs admitted to shaking the baby, Cooper added.

Two police video interviews of Zuncs were played for the jury.

"I want to (expletive) die, man," Zuncs said in the second interview.

"She (the baby) woke up and started crying.

Because she didn't do what I told her to do I got frustrated, and I shook her.

… I'm sorry, man.

I was holding her by her stomach."

Zuncs also admitted to pricking the bottom of the baby's feet with a needle.

"I don't think you did anything to intentionally hurt your daughter," Cooper said during the interview.

Zuncs replied that he had used the illegal drug known as speed before the incident.

During cross-examination of Cooper by defense attorney Vincent Iannone, Cooper said he was unaware of an apparent bloodstain on the edge of a couch at the Roosevelt Street residence where Zuncs, the baby and her mother lived.

Iannone asked Cooper whether Zuncs said "his mother had been abusive, that he basically lived on the street since the time he was 15." Cooper said Zuncs told him that.

Prosecuting attorney Derek Carlisle earlier noted that Zuncs said he went to a juvenile institution for arson.

Carlisle asked Cooper whether, during the first interview, Zuncs had said, "I'm trying to figure this (expletive) out." Cooper said Zuncs did say that.

Kingman police Cpl.

Michael Bolt testified that Zuncs told him he and Lydia Lara argued over her not trusting Zuncs with their baby during the week before the infant's death.

Bolt said Zuncs said he pulled the phone away from Lara, grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into the wall when they argued Nov.


Zuncs already has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison for burglarizing several cars at a Kingman car dealership two months before his child's death.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Zuncs could receive life in prison without parole or life with possibility of parole after 37 years.

He could receive 12 to 26 years for the child abuse charge.