Navy Couple Plead Not Guilty In Infant's Death

Steven And Sara Davinger Accused In Death Of 3-Month-Old Daughter Aziya

A Navy couple pleaded not guilty Friday to felony child abuse in connection with the death of their infant daughter 17 months ago.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Curtis Davinger, 28, and his 22-year-old wife, Sara, whose rank wasn't immediately available, were arrested about 9 a.m. Thursday by San Diego police and military detectives at the 32nd Street Naval Station, said Lt. Kevin Rooney of the San Diego Police Department.

The couple had been under investigation since Oct. 13, 2009, when a man babysitting for them made an emergency call to report the death of the Davingers' 3-month-old daughter, Aziya.

An autopsy the following day revealed that the baby's death was a homicide resulting from infections caused by fractures and other blunt-force injuries inflicted on various occasions, Rooney said.

In court Friday, Deputy District Attorney Per Hellstrom told judge David Szumowski that the autopsy revealed that the victim had 40 broken bones, mostly fresh or several weeks old.

The girl's ribs were broken in the front and back, and she had fractures to her arm and legs, according to the prosecutor.

Witnesses said that Steve Davinger had a short temper and would yell at Aziya and was seen being rough with her, pushing on her stomach, Hellstrom said.

The father said abrasions to the baby's face were caused by the 3-month-old rubbing her face on the carpet, the prosecutor said.

According to Hellstrom, there is no evidence that Sara Davinger ever sought medical care for the child.

The defendants each face 10 years in prison if convicted, Hellstrom said.

Steve Davinger was ordered held on $350,000 bail and his wife was being held on $200,000 bail.

A status conference was scheduled Wednesday at the downtown courthouse.

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