Defense Bids to Intro Sex Relationship in Baby Murder Case

The attorneys for the Plainfield man charged with killing his girlfriend's baby want to tell the jury that the couple carried on sexually for nearly two years after the child's death.

Santos Loza. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department.
Santos Loza. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department.
By Joseph Hosey

A woman who accused her boyfriend of killing her baby kept having sex with him for nearly two years after the child's death, one of the Plainfield man's attorneys said on the day jury selection started for his murder trial.

Will County Judge Sarah Jones barred any reference to the relationship between Santos Loza and Sandra Sitko from the time Sitko's son died in October 2008 through February 2009. But defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez said Loza and Sitko continued to have sex for another year and five months after that point.

"The text messages stopped but they continued to have sex until July" 2010, Lopez said prior to jury selection Monday.

Lopez said he wants to explore whether the couple remained in a sexual relationship for the year and nine months after the baby died.

Prosecutors "said they didn't think it was relevant, so the state doesn't know the answer," Lopez said. "(The judge) is going to have to make the decision. We'll just have to see."

Loza, 33, was not charged with murdering Sitko's 8-month-old baby boy, Kevion Bender, until August 2010. In a court filing, Loza's attorneys said that "shortly after Kevion's death, Mrs. Sitko expressed her desire to continue dating and having sex with Mr. Loza."

The filing also claimed Sitko sent text messages to Loza that said, "(I) miss u soo much i cant eat or sleep i need 2 c u" and "(m)ake a baby with me."

Sitko's father, James Sitko, told a Joliet police detective his daughter "may have gotten pregnant with Mr. Loza's child during their continued sexual encounters," the filing said.

Lopez tried to introduce a letter as evidence Monday afternoon but Judge Jones told him he would have to wait until after a jury was seated. The contents of the letter were not discussed in court but included a message about becoming "grandparents in six months."

Sitko found her son dead  about 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2008. Loza had babysat the child for seven hours before Sitko checked on the child about 11 the night before, a prosecutor during a previous hearing.

Sitko heard her son snoring while she stood in the doorway to his room but did not actually go to look at him, the prosecutor said. She discovered the boy was not breathing less than six hours later.

Last week, Judge Jones issued a gag order to the attorneys involved in the case. On Monday, she questioned Lopez about whether he was abiding by it.

"Mr. Lopez, you're not communicating with the media, are you?" Jones asked.

"Not anymore," Lopez said.

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