On July 5, 2015, just after 11:30 p.m., Tony Moreno made a desperate call to his mother: He was standing on the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown, Connecticut — she was afraid he might kill himself.
More worrisome, she could hear over the phone that he was with his 7-month-old son, Aaden.
He asked her to come get the baby’s stroller and his cellphone, which had photos of Aaden. He told her, “Just tell everybody that I’m sorry.”
Then he jumped.
Testifying Friday at Moreno’s murder trial, his mother, Denise Moreno, recounted that phone conversation, according to the Hartford Courant and the New Haven Register. She recalled how she raced to the scene with Tony’s brother, how she tried to call Tony back and how she then called 911. (The tape of the 911 call was played for jurors.)
Denise arrived at the Arrigoni Bridge almost simultaneously with the first police officer on the scene, according to the Courant. They witnessed Tony throw himself from the bridge some 90 feet to the water below.
They never saw Aaden. Investigators allege Tony had already thrown his son to his death, from the bridge, in the midst of conflicts with the boy’s mother.
According to court documents previously obtained by WTNH, Tony sent Aaden’s mom a series of chilling text messages before the boy was killed, including “enjoy your new life without us.”
The boy’s dead body was recovered two days later.
Tony was pulled from the river soon after jumping, and he was hospitalized for serious injuries before being charged with murder and risk of injury to a child. Police say he later confessed to them, and a judge has ruled that his confession is admissible as evidence, according to the Associated Press.
As one officer previously alleged in court, according to the Courant: “[Tony] didn’t want his son being raised by his girlfriend’s family, so he knew what he needed to do, which was kill his son then kill himself. [The hospital psychiatrist] asked if he expected to die from jumping off the bridge, and his response was ‘That was the plan.’ ”
However, an officer testified Friday at the trial that in the immediate aftermath of jumping, Tony wouldn’t tell authorities what happened to his son, according to the Register.
“I went up, I got right up in his face and asked him were the baby was,” the officer said, adding he got no reply.
The first officer on the scene that night also testified Friday, describing how he urged Tony not to jump: “I said, ‘Tony, stop!’ and he looked at me and began to quicken his pace,” he said, according to the AP and the Courant.
“Moments later, [Tony] put both of his hands on the railing to his right and hurled himself over,” the officer said.
Denise — at times tearful in her testimony, according to the Register — said on the stand that she watched her son jump from nearby, and then she looked at Aaden’s stroller.
“There was just blankets,” she said.
Tony faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted, according to local news reports. The evidentiary portion of the trial is expected to last eight days, according to the Register, and Aaden’s mother is expected to testify.
Tony previously rejected a plea deal and his defense will reportedly seek lesser charges of manslaughter, according to the AP.
Though it is now unclear if Tony will take the stand, according to the Courant, his defense attorney previously said he would.
“We will unpack in studious detail what happened in the interrogation of Tony Moreno,” Norm Pattis told Fox 61 in May, “and a jury will decide whether what police got him to say is what happened or whether what Mr. Moreno will testify to is what happened.”
Pattis claimed that Aaden “tumble[d] to his death.”
Testimony in Tony’s murder trial resumes Tuesday.