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Murder trial reset until next year for Bella Vista man accused of killing his son

by Tracy Neal | January 14, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.
Mauricio Alejandro Torres

BENTONVILLE -- Mauricio Alejandro Torres will have to wait another year to face a third jury in connection with killing his 6-year-old son.

Torres, 52, of Bella Vista is charged with capital murder and battery. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin Jan. 31, but Torres' defense attorneys filed a motion to reschedule the trial.

Jeff Rosenzweig, one of Torres' attorneys, states in the motion the delay is needed because the defense is still waiting on transcripts of witness testimony from Torres' second trial in March 2020.

Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith filed a response and did not object to delaying the trial.

However, Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren did not have to rule on the motion since the county's circuit judges decided this week to suspend jury trials in the county until Feb. 7 in light of the current surge of covid-19. They had to balance public safety and Torres' right to have a trial, Karren said Friday.

Karren rescheduled Torres' jury trial to begin Jan. 30, 2023.

Torres was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in 2016 for his son's murder, but the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2019 and ordered Torres be given a new trial. The high court ruled prosecutors didn't prove their case for the death penalty.

A second jury found Torres guilty of the murder and battery charges. The proceedings ended during the sentencing phase March 5, 2020, when a witness jumped from the jury box and attempted to attack Torres. A Benton County sheriff's deputy and a bailiff stopped the witness from reaching Torres.

Karren declared a mistrial and ruled Torres should have another trial. The Arkansas attorney general's office appealed Karren's decision, but the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with Karren.

Maurice Isaiah Torres died March 30, 2015, at a Bella Vista medical clinic, according to court documents. Torres is accused of shoving a stick in his son's rectum, causing an infection that led to the boy's death. Prosecutors presented evidence showing the boy was repeatedly abused.

Torres is being held without bail in the Benton County Jail.

A hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. April 15.

Print Headline: Torres murder trial reset for next year


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