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July 2, 2013

Philly dad on trial in baby's drug death

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia man went on trial Tuesday on charges that he put heroin and methadone in a bottle to quiet his infant son but instead killed him.

Orlando Rosado, 46, opted to go on trial before a judge instead of a jury, and could have her verdict by day's end. He is charged with third-degree murder and drug delivery causing death.

Rosado told police he fed the baby at 3 a.m. when he awoke fussy, then found the baby unresponsive in a vomit-strewn bassinet at 7 a.m.

Rosado and the boy's mother were both in daily methadone programs to treat their heroin addiction. The mother, Crystal Miller, said she thought he had been clean since the 2006 birth of their daughter.

But a friend who took Rosado to a methadone clinic every day at 7 a.m. said he knew he had relapsed. The friend nonetheless said Rosado was good with the baby, and was "hysterical" on the May 2012 morning that he ran out to the friend's car carrying his son.

The boy, Christopher, died two days before his first birthday.

A forensic chemist testified that the baby would have ingested the drugs within the past eight hours, based on the drugs found in his blood, liver and urine. Tests also found evidence of heroin and methadone in the remaining liquid in the baby bottle, which was found on a coffee table.

Miller testified that Rosado handled nighttime feedings while she slept, and that she did not mix the formula or prepare the bottles in advance. She said she broke off her relationship with Rosado after Christopher's death, in part because she could not get a straight answer from him about what happened.

But she smiled as she spoke of how he insisted on boiling tap water for Christopher's bottles if they were out of bottled water. And she described her son as "always fussy."

Defense lawyer Bruce Wolf, perhaps pointing to his defense, asked Miller if people don't get groggy or confused after taking heroin. She agreed that can happen.

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Rosado, who has also been treated for bipolar disorder, attempted suicide after the boy's death.