BARSTOW The trial of a former Fort Irwin soldier accused of fatally abusing his infant son opened Wednesday at the Barstow courthouse.

Segieray Cooper, 21, faces a charge of child abuse resulting in death. Cooper was an active-duty soldier stationed at Fort Irwin in July of 2007 when his seven-month-old son died. He was not reporting to duty at the time, however, as he was caring for the child, Deputy District Attorney Barbara McClanahan said.

According to previous reports, the child's mother lived in North Carolina, and Cooper had taken the boy with him to Fort Irwin rather than leave the child in the mother's care.

The boy was rushed to Weed Community Medical Center at Fort Irwin, not breathing but with a slight pulse, on July 21, 2007, McClanahan said. He was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he died on July 26.

The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head and abdominal area, she said.

Cooper was arrested July 23, 2007 and remains in custody at the West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $1 million. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

McClanahan said that a friend who had been with Cooper and the child a little more than an hour before the child was rushed to the hospital reported that the boy was "fine" when he left the home.

Cooper's public defender Paul Henderson could not be reached for comment Friday.

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