BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) — The Benton County prosecuting attorney said the death sentence handed down by the jury Tuesday (Nov. 15) in the case against Mauricio Torres was justice for the son he killed and his other victims.
The 12-person jury recommended the sentence after deliberating for about three hours. They convicted Torres of capital murder in the killing of six-year-old Maurice Isaiah Torres, who was known as Isaiah, Monday.
The jury also convicted Torres of first-degree battery and recommended a 20-year-sentence for that.
The judge accepted both recommendations and Torres was led away in handcuffs and a black and white jail uniform.
Torres was arrested for his son’s murder in March 2015.
After the jury returned its guilty verdict Monday morning, the prosecution called its witnesses for the sentencing phase of the trial. Five of Torres’ children and stepchildren, all of whom accused him of years of physical and sexual abuse, were called to the stand. To read more about their testimony, click here.
Tuesday morning, the defense called its witnesses, Edguar Torres, Torres’ father, and Mario Torres, Torres’ uncle.
Edguar Torres told the jury Mauricio was born in El Salvador when he was 18 years old and the child’s mother left them when Mauricio was about seven months old. The two escaped civil war in the 1970s and came to California where Edguar and his brother Mario opened a restaurant.
The elder Torres talked about how at ten years old, Mauricio would work at the restaurant after school and on the weekends. He also said his son played football and was involved in boxing.
Edguar said Mauricio got married in his 20s and had two children. He lost touch with his father and uncle when he moved to Arkansas.
The defense asked Torres’ father about how he would punish his son. Edguar told the attorney he would make him do squats, push ups and sit ups instead of spanking him.
Mario Torres took the stand after that. He recounted mostly the same details as Torres’ father.
Prosecutor Nathan Smith said the jury delivered the sentence he was hoping for. He said justice had been done, not just for Isaiah, but for the other children and stepchildren who suffered physical and sexual abuse at Torres’ hands.
Smith said all five of the other victims told him they are grateful to each juror for giving them the justice they were denied earlier in their lives. He also said the sentence was anything but harsh.
“If we have the death penalty, it is for Mauricio Torres,” Smith said. “If there is any person who has walked this earth who deserve the penalty, it’s Mauricio Torres. Mauricio Torres committed the most heinous, vile and despicable crimes that you can imagine.”
Torres’ wife, Cathy, is also facing capital murder and first-degree battery charges in Isaiah’s death. She is scheduled to go to trial in May 2017.