Trial underway for Riverview man accused of beating toddler to death

A trial is underway for the murder of a two-year-old boy who Tampa prosecutors said was beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend. 

The jury was shown disturbing images of abuse in the death of 2-year-old Kayden Guerrero Wednesday. The defendant on trial, David Malave, is accused of beating the toddler to death and then lying about it. 

In July 2020, the two-year-old's mother, Deyaneira Lopez, left Kayden in the care of her boyfriend, Malave, while she stayed at Metropolitan Ministries with her other child. Kayden was not allowed to stay with his mother due to a paperwork issue.

The mother said on July 19, 2020, she got a frantic call from Malave. 

"He was saying that the baby had fell out of the car, and he was unresponsive. He was trying to do CPR, but he wasn’t responding," Lopez testified.

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The toddler was rushed to the hospital, and doctors determined he was brain-dead and put on life support. The toddler eventually died of his injuries.

Tampa Prosecutor Jessica O'Connor was able to point out some of the little boy's injuries to the jury, including contusions to his torso, his stomach, and rib cage. She also said the boy's blood was found in the back seat of a car. 

"The injuries that caused his death were inflicted during the time frame that the defendant was only with Kayden," O'Connor told the jury. 

O'Connor said Malave kept changing his story. 

"It was either Kayden fell out of his hands onto the pavement or Kayden fell out of the car onto the pavement," O'Connor recalled. 

But Hillsborough Public Defender Donna Perry quickly pointed the finger at Kayden's mother who, she said lied to police about important dates and details. Lopez denied misleading investigators and explained she was confused and mixed up a few dates because she was under enormous stress.

Perry suggested the child's injuries happened in her care. 

"Mr. Malave tried to take care of his girlfriend's child because he loved her, and he was covering for her," argued Perry.

But prosecutors refuted that saying Malave was alone with child when the fatal injuries occurred. 

Malave is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child abuse. The jury is expected to begin deliberating Thursday.