MERCER – A Pennsylvania state trooper said the body of a 14-year-old boy was covered in “cuts and bruises” during the first day of testimony Tuesday in the trial of a man accused in the teenager’s 2019 starvation and abuse death.

Paul Alexander Bacorn, 30, of 540 District Road, Delaware Township, is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children and conspiracy to commit those crimes and assault in connection with the death of Antonio Gonzalez Jr.

The boy’s father, Antonio Juan Gonzalez, now held in the State Correctional Institution Fayette, pleaded guilty April 24, 2020, to first-degree murder and has been sentenced to life in prison.

During the testimony of Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Adam Peth, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Acker displayed pictures of the scene, including the boy’s body.

“The whole body was really dirty with cuts and bruises all over,” Peth testified.

Others witnesses Tuesday included two other state troopers, a digital forensic examiner for the state police and Mercer County Coroner John A. Libonati.

Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense would not comment on the case due to a previously issued gag order.

Bacorn has been in Mercer County Jail since his arrest in December 2019.

The prosecution claims Bacorn was involved along with Gonzalez in causing the teenage boy’s abuse and starvation death.

According to a criminal complaint filed by state police, Mercer County 911 dispatched an ambulance on the morning of Oct. 24, 2019, to a trailer at 540 District Road and found the 14-year-old boy unresponsive and not breathing.

The cause of death was determined to be homicide by hypovolemic shock caused by blunt force trauma. Hypovolemic shock is caused by low blood volume, but Libonati said the effect of the boy’s injuries was exacerbated by starvation.

Libonati’s office estimated the 14-year-old boy weighed 70 pounds. Police said the boy showed signs of malnutrition and had sustained significant bruising.

Police said Bacorn lived in a second trailer, separate from Gonzalez’s residence, on the property and sometimes cared for Gonzalez’s two children — the 14-year-old and a 4-year-old.

Testimony from prosecution witnesses continues today. 

Editor’s note: Suspects are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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