BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On July 1, Mauricio Torres appeared at a pretrial status hearing in Bentonville Circuit Court before the start of his trial for capital murder in the 2015 sexual assault and killing of his son.
This will be Torres’ third trial after investigators say he sexually assaulted his six-year-old son Isaiah with a stick while on a family camping trip in Missouri in 2015, resulting in the boy’s death a day later. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Judge Brad Karren began the proceedings at approximately 9:05 a.m. by confirming that both the prosecution and defense teams were still waiting to receive the complete transcripts from Torres’ second trial. When the judge inquired about exactly what might be needed, Benton County prosecutor Nathan Smith made the government’s requirements clear.
“From opening through closing, we need that,” he told the court. “We’re doing the best we can,” Judge Karren replied.
“Our numbers on criminal cases have just skyrocketed,” the judge added in reference to the delays. Ultimately, the court set a tentative deadline of October 3 for all transcripts to be delivered to both parties. He also scheduled a joint call for October 10 to “revisit what’s left.” Smith and defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig confirmed their agreement with the dates in question.
The prosecution also suggested its desire for another status hearing to discuss motions and other pretrial matters. The judge and defense attorney agreed, and this was scheduled for September 6.
The hearing concluded at approximately 9:20 a.m.
During Torres’ second trial in March 2020, the jury found him guilty of capital murder, which carries the death penalty. During the sentencing phase of the trial, Torres’ stepson, Quinton Martin, leaped out of the witness box to attack Torres during testimony.
Martin apparently reacted after the prosecutor asked if Torres had ever sexually abused him. Judge Brad Karren then called a mistrial.
Torres was also found guilty in his first trial, but Arkansas Supreme Court Justices ruled that state authorities couldn’t use rape as a justification for the murder conviction because the assault occurred in Missouri.
Torres’ third trial is scheduled to begin on January 30, 2023.