A Santa Ana man, convicted of second-degree murder Tuesday in the death of the 2-year-old daughter of his girlfriend, was taken into custody after he yelled at the prosecutor, "I hope you feel good. You got your people out here to lie like that."
Thomas G. Wyrick, 35, claimed he injured the child, Natalie Martinez, when he administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). But the prosecution contended that her injuries were too massive to have been caused by CPR, and a firefighter at the scene testified that Wyrick admitted to him that he had hit the child three times in the stomach to stop her from crying.
Earlier Jury Deadlocked
Wyrick, who was free on $250,000 bail, was tried last summer, but a mistrial was declared when that jury deadlocked 10 to 2 in favor of a second-degree murder conviction. The jury of six men and six women at Wyrick's second trial deliberated for four days.
The second jury had a choice of second-degree murder (the first jury eliminated first-degree murder), involuntary manslaughter or acquittal.
Wyrick's attorney, Alan Stokke, gasped at the verdict. Wyrick began crying and startled some of the jurors when he turned to Deputy Dist. Atty. Mike Jacobs and accused him of bringing in false testimony.
Some jurors lowered their heads as the sound of loud sobbing from Wyrick's mother filled the courtroom. Also crying in the courtroom was Sally Martinez, mother of the dead child who plans to marry Wyrick.
One juror said later, "I never want to have to go through that again."
Superior Court Judge James W. Cook ordered Wyrick's bail stopped and had the bailiff take him into custody. The judge said it wasn't because of Wyrick's outburst, but prosecutor Jacobs told the court Wyrick should be taken into custody "for his own safety and the safety of others."
Jacobs added: "In 10 years as an attorney, I've never before been subjected to an outburst like that. Mr. Wyrick has been free for almost two years now; it's time for someone who beat a child to death to be in jail where he belongs."
The prosecution contended that Sally Martinez was staying weekends with Wyrick and had left her daughter in his care when she went to work at 5 a.m. on Aug. 20, 1983. Wyrick called Martinez about 5:30 a.m. and told her to come home. She returned to find the child wrapped in a blanket on the couch. A neighbor already had entered the apartment after hearing the child screaming, according to testimony.
Awakened by Crying
The child died of massive injuries to the chest and stomach. Wyrick testified that he only hit the girl lightly when she woke him up crying. He denied that he told a firefighter he hit the child three times in the stomach.
Stokke tried to show through his own pathology expert that the child first became ill from ingesting cocaine, which he contended had been found at the Martinez home. But Jacobs contended there was no testimony to show that the amount of cocaine ingested had any connection with the girl's death.
Judge Cook set Wyrick's sentencing for May 20.