BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The prosecution has filed a motion seeking to limit the scope of references to a defendant’s wife and her prison sentence in a capital murder trial.
Mauricio Torres has already been convicted twice for the abuse and killing of his six-year-old son, Isaiah Torres, during a weekend camping trip in 2015. The first was overturned on a sentencing technicality, and the second was declared a mistrial when Torres’ stepson jumped out of the witness stand and attempted to attack him during sentencing.
Jury selection began on February 2 in Benton County circuit court in the third capital murder trial for Torres, and Judge Brad Karren has set aside a significant amount of time to complete the voir dire process. That same day, prosecutor Nathan Smith filed a motion in limine to prevent the introduction of certain mitigating circumstances in the case and to limit testimony related to the sentence of the defendant’s wife, Cathy Torres.
In 2017, she agreed to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, avoiding a possible death sentence. The state has already announced its intent to seek the death penalty against Torres in his third trial.
In its February 2 filing, the prosecution objected to the defense statement that “equity in sentencing is appropriate because Cathy Torres received a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for her involvement in the death of Isaiah Torres,” calling that “irrelevant to the issue of punishment” for Mauricio Torres.
Smith’s motion cited a previous relevant case that found the “sentence of a co-defendant in a capital murder case was irrelevant as a mitigating circumstance.” It also asked for any testimony about Cathy Torres’ sentence to be excluded as irrelevant.
“It is unfairly prejudicial and misleading to the jury and should be excluded,” the motion said.
The motion asked the court to prevent the defense from introducing it as testimony or evidence in the upcoming trial. Jury selection continues in Benton County circuit court on February 6.