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Trial opens for father indaughter’s shaking death

Updated: May 8, 2011 4:46AM

WHEATON — The trial of an Aurora man accused of killing his 6-month-old daughter began in DuPage County Court Tuesday.

In January 2009, Joel Chavez, 28, was charged with killing his daughter, Julyssa, at their home in the 1000 block of Terrace Lake Drive on the city’s far East Side. The infant died from injuries to her head and body sustained when her father threw and shook her, the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office said.

Joel Chavez apparently became angry with the girl, shook her, threw her off the bed and she may have hit a wall, prosecutors said. The girl was pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

According to the medical examiner’s report, the primary cause of death was multiple injuries, the secondary cause blunt trauma and the third cause was child abuse.

If convicted, Chavez could face 20 to 60 years in prison. Because of the age of the victim, he may be eligible for a life sentence, prosecutors said.

At the time of the murder, a Department of Children and Family Services spokesman said two other children had been removed from the home and were taken into the care of relatives. The agency had no prior contact with the family, officials said.

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