Crime

Trial for accused child torturer Jorge Barahona moved to Miami

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Jorge Barahona, a pest exterminator accused of trying to kill his 10-year-old adopted son by dousing chemicals on him alongside Interstate 95 in West Palm, will have his trial in Miami.

A Palm Beach County court this week ordered Barahona’s case moved to Miami-Dade, where he and his wife are facing separate trials for torturing and murdering the boy’s twin sister, Nubia, in 2011. The cases could eventually be merged together.

He and his wife, Carmen Barahona, are accused of murdering adopted daughter Nubia in February 2011, after months of torture and abuse. Her twin brother, Victor, was also starved, tortured and beaten, prosecutors say.

The killings drew widespread headlines after police found Nubia’s chemical-soaked body in the back of Jorge Barahona’s pickup truck along the interstate, Victor severely injured inside the cab and his adopted father passed out nearby.

The alleged torture of the twins, and Nubia’s death, cast a harsh spotlight on the Florida Department of Children and Families, which had received numerous abuse complaints against the Barahonas. A grand jury report later concluded that DCF gave Barahonas “a pass” every time allegations of abuse surfaced. Prosecutors say the couple kept the 10-year-old twins bound in the bathroom of their West Miami-Dade home for months, beating and starving them.

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Barahona was initially charged in Palm Beach with that attack, while a grand jury in Miami indicted him for the alleged torture and abuse that led up to the attack. Barahona asked that his trial be moved to Miami, according to a court order, and eventually Palm Beach prosecutors agreed.

“In the interest of justice, the court will probably ask me to represent him,” said his Miami defense lawyer, David Peckins.

No trial dates have been set in either case.

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