MODESTO — A judge postponed a Feb. 5 trial for a 30-year-old Modesto man accused of murder in the death of his 7-week-old son and in the beating of the infant's mother.
Abinesh Kumar has pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder, child abuse causing death and battery on a spouse resulting in a traumatic injury.
The prosecuting and defense attorneys asked the judge Monday to delay the trial because they had not received medical records related to the case. Nancy Smith, Kumar's defense attorney, said she cannot be ready for the February trial.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge John Free- land granted the request. He scheduled Kumar to return to court Jan. 28 to schedule his trial, which will likely start in May.
The trial is estimated to last two weeks. Kumar remains in custody in the Stanislaus County Jail.
The infant, Abinav Kumar, died Aug. 18 in his north Modesto home. Emergency personnel responded to reports of an unresponsive child about 1 a.m. and found the boy dead. Kumar was arrested that afternoon after police questioned him.
In a preliminary hearing a year ago, Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees argued that Kumar was alone with his infant son from 8:40 p.m. to midnight, the time the injury occurred.
Stanislaus County forensic pathologist Sungook Baik testified that the child died of shaken-baby syndrome, citing bleeding in the brain and retina.
Defense attorney Martin Baker represented Kumar in the preliminary hearing. Baker argued that the medical testimony leaves open a possibility that the infant died of child endangerment; not murder.
He said the infant's size, eight pounds, and his premature birth could lead one to believe that possible mishandling of the child could have caused his death, not an intentional act.
Kumar also is accused of inflicting corporal injury on his ex-wife. She testified Kumar beat her with his fists, choked her and stepped on her neck as she was lying on the ground.
The couple had two boys who were 11 months apart. At the time of the boy's death, Kumar and the children's mother were separated and involved in legal proceedings over child custody. The ex-wife has gained custody of her eldest son.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2394.