In the early morning hours of March 14th, 2011, Cristian Fernandez was a typical 12 year-old boy watching his 2 year-old brother. Within hours, he was awaiting doctors to tell him the condition on his sibling. March 15th, 2011, Cristian was arrested for Assault which would later be increased to include first-degree murder after the life-support machine keeping his brother alive was turned off, saying Cristian inflicted fatal injuries by slamming David against a bookshelf when their mother wasn’t home. Now, Cristian’s entire life sits in front of his face…Literally. If Florida Prosecutor Mark Caliel has his way, Cristian will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Cristian is a victim on a tragic life. His mother gave birth to him when she was a 12 year-old girl. At the age of 2, while staying with his grandmother, he was found wandering naked, dirty, and hungry in a hotel parking lot. Soon after, the pair were taken into foster care and the grandmother/guardian was charged with possession of drugs and neglect. Eventually, his mother would go on to remarry. Cristian’s step-father would become the biggest threat to his life.
Spending a majority of the time being abused mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually, an injury to his eye led authorities to the man responsible. October 2010, to avoid the prosecution brought upon himself, his step-father took a 9-mm pistol and ended his life with Cristian and David within a “splatter-zone”. When the two were found, they were covered in blood. When the mother requested to have the Florida Department of Children and Families counsel the boys from the traumatic experience, they put them on a waiting list and later refused the service.
The details of the case are probably the most puzzling. The police report shows the 25 year-old mother, Biannela Susana account of David’s injuries changed as she talked with police. She first said she was in the kitchen when her son was hurt. Later she said she wasn’t home at all when Cristian told her David fell from a bunk bed. She said she went home and found David unresponsive, before changing his clothes and putting ice on his head. She also told police she looked up concussions online and hoped the 2-year-old would wake up. Susana also admitted David previously broke his leg while wrestling with Cristian, which now she apparently said she lied about and told Cristian to lie about.
At around 11:40pm on the night of the incident, Susana agreed to allow the police department to go into the home for a search to try to put together what happened. When they arrived, in David’s bedroom, they found blood and what looked like vomit. Although there was no damage to the bookshelf or blood on it, there was blood on the carpet, the bunk beds, a pillow, a baseball shirt, and on a sheet on the bottom bunk, on a shower curtain, and on a child-sized pair of tan pants in a closet laundry basket.
To take things a step further, The incident happened at 10:54 AM. David didn’t arrive at the hospital until after 4pm. During that lapse of time, not only was Biannela giving the unconscious and bleeding 2 year-old a bath and changing his clothes, she was online. That’s right…ONLINE.
Of the two laptops in the apartment, someone looked up content about when a person “gets knocked out.” Then hours passed before “concussions on children” was Googled at 2:38 p.m. Around the same time, there was a search on the Toshiba laptop for “unconscious for hours.” At 3:07 p.m. info for St. Luke’s Hospital in Jacksonville was searched. The Web surfing on that laptop ended at 4:05 p.m. “In between the times Susana was searching about unconsciousness, she also downloaded music, searched for popular screen savers and logged on to YouTube,” a detective’s report says according to Bridget Murphy of Jacksonville.com.
But Susana’s lawyer tried to cast doubt Wednesday on whether it was the mother at the Toshiba’s keyboard that day, pushing the blame on her son. Defense lawyer Shawn Arnold said it was Cristian’s laptop where all the Internet searches happened. While court records show both computers listed Biannela’s name and neither had passwords, Arnold pointed out the Toshiba listed “Cool Kids Learn” as its user-defined account. He also pointed out that the first medical website someone surfed to was kidshealth.org, something he called child-friendly.
“This is his computer,” Arnold said. “That’s all I’m going to say. It’s the state’s burden to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel questioned if a 12-year-old would be doing online banking. He said Internet searches also included clicks to bank website www.wachovia.com.at 2:44 p.m.
After watching the case of Troy Davis show the world the injustices of the criminal “justice” system, this case shows the harsh reality of how far a District Attorney is willing to go to prove a point. Did Cristian cause his brother’s injury? Possibly. Did it happen the way the mother is saying or the way the boy is saying? Who knows. Would David have survived if his mother would have taken him to the hospital hours earlier? According to the physicians, it’s highly probable. Should Cristian spend the rest of his life in prison for this accident? Not a chance.
To find out more about this case and to sign the petition asking the prosecutor to give Cristian a fair sentence, visit www.change.org.