Man released to veterans organization while Groton assault case pending

A former Navy sailor who was arrested five years after he allegedly inflicted life-threatening injuries on his 18-month-old son in Groton will be enrolled in a program for veterans while his case is pending in the state court system.

David Diaz, 38, was arrested as a fugitive from justice in Florida in November 2012. He was extradited to Connecticut, where Groton Town Police served him with a warrant charging him first-degree assault and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.

He has been held in lieu of $100,000 bond until this morning, when Judge Susan B. Handy reduced his bond to a written promise to appear in court and ordered that he be turned over to Veterans Affairs. His attorney, Fred DeCaprio, and Chris Burke from the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction services arranged to take him to the Columbus Veterans Shelter in New Haven today. The judge told Diaz she expects him to leave the shelter soon for a program and ordered him to cooperate.

Town police said Diaz had held his hand over his son's mouth to stop him from screaming, causing him to suffer a life-threatening seizure due to the lack of oxygen. Hospital staff became suspicious when Diaz and his wife brought the child to the hospital in the midst of the seizure, saying it began after he was put in "time out" after having a tantrum and that the child had a history of holding his breath.

Diaz is due back in court on April 4.

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