Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren ruled Thursday that his initial judgment of a mistrial in the capital murder case against Mauricio Torres in the death of his six-year-old son.
Torres was convicted by a jury of the charge, but a mistrial was declared during the sentencing portion of the trial when Torres’ stepson charged him from the witness stand while being questioned about sexual abuse by Torres. Torres’ son Isaiah died from injuries in a sexual assault.
The prosecution had hoped Karren would order only a retrial of the sentencing phase of the case.
He said state law requires the same jury to sentence a defendant in a capital murder case. The only exception is when an appeal leads to a reversal of a death sentence and a remand for resentencing.
Torres will be retried. He is being held in the Benton County Jail. The case has drawn angry comments from Republican legislators in the area, first when the Supreme Court reversed his initial conviction. Sen. Bart Hester Tweeted after yesterday’s decision that the judge had ruled in favor of a child rapist. This is nonsense. The judge upheld the rule of law. God help us when judges start ruling according to Bart Hester.