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Trial begins for Middletown man accused of tossing infant from Arrigoni Bridge

MIDDLETOWN — Testimony began Friday in the trial of a man accused of throwing his 7-month-old son to his death from a bridge over the Connecticut River.

Tony Moreno has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and risk of injury to a child. Prosecutors say on July 5, 2015 he threw the child over the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown before jumping himself.

He had been working out a custody agreement with the boy's mother when he sent her a text that night, saying "He's dead." Aaden Moreno's body was recovered from the river two days later.

On Friday, Officers Andrew Wasilewski and Austin Smith of the Middletown Police Department testified that they responded to the Arrigoni Bridge, tried to get him to stop, but saw Moreno throw himself off.

"Without hesitation, he grabbed the railing with both hands and threw himself over," said Officer Andrew Wasilewski.

He said, "Officer Smith and I saw him fall. He splashes into the water. Few seconds later, he resurfaced. His head was above water. He was successfully treading water. His arms were moving about."

Officer Smith testified he arrived at the bridge at the same time as Moreno's mother, Denise Moreno, who had called 911. Wasilewski arrived minutes later.

Denise Moreno also took the stand on Friday. She testified that Tony Moreno had called her on July 5 and said he was on the bridge. She could hear Aaden in the background.

"I couldn't understand a lot of what he said because I kept saying, 'What?' because it sounded like he was crying. The parts that I got was that he wanted me to come to the bridge to get Aaden's stroller and the iPhone and the iPad so I had pictures," she said.

Denise Moreno said he didn't actually say he planned to jump or hurt herself, but she assumed based on the information he gave her and the late hour and location of the phone call. She said she told him to put one foot in front of the other.

"I kept saying it over and over and he just finally said, 'I can't,'" testified Denise Moreno.

Denise told dispatchers Moreno was on the bridge with his 7-month-old.

She testified that when she arrived," I went to the stroller and Tony started walking to his right because the police officer was steps behind me."

"He kept walking and he got faster as the officer got closer," she said.

Jurors heard testimony from the lead investigator in the case, Detective Dane Semper of the Middletown Police Department. He is expected to be called to the stand again later in the trial.

Finally, they heard from a woman named Kim Parrity who happened to be driving on the bridge that night. She described seeing a man holding up a baby, and demonstrated to the jurors what she saw using a prop doll.

A judge ruled earlier this week that a confession Moreno gave to police when he was in the hospital can be used as evidence in the trial.

The trial is expected to last 8 days.