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OC Man On Trial For Allegedly Torturing, Killing 2-Year-Old Niece

CYPRESS (AP) — The uncle of a 2-year-old Orange County girl is facing trial for her killing and torture.

Prosecutors said in opening statements Wednesday that 33-year-old Michael David Balderas beat the girl with his hand and belt and sexually abused her before her death on March 30, 2006.

They say Balderas was angry at the girl because of potty training problems on the day she died.

Balderas became the sole caretaker of the girl while his sister and the child's father were preparing to serve a term in federal prison in Texas in 2005.

Defense attorney Hong Nguyen told the Orange County Register after court that Balderas loved the child and that the evidence does not show that more than spanking occurred.

Nguyen will give her opening statement Thursday.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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