BENTONVILLE -- Mauricio Alejandro Torres described his 6-year-old son's beatings as a family affair when police interviewed him in 2015 after the boy died.
Torres, 50, of Bella Vista described the punishments in a April 6, 2015, interview with Bella Vista Police Capt. Tim Cook.
Torres is charged with capital murder and battery in connection with the death of his son. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
It's Torres' second trial. He was previously convicted of the same charges, but last year the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned the convictions and ordered a new trial.
Torres is accused of sodomizing his son, Maurice Isaiah Torres, with a stick in Missouri, causing his death. The boy died March 30, 2015, at a Bella Vista medical clinic. A medical examiner testified in the 2016 trial the boy's death was caused by a bacterial infection resulting from sodomy.
Police did three interviews with Mauricio Torres. The jury watched the first interview Friday on two large screens in the courtroom.
Torres downplayed his role in his son's abuse and placed the blame on his wife, Cathy Torres. He was only guilty by association, he told Cook. He claimed his wife never connected emotionally to their son.
Cathy Torres didn't testify at her husband's first trial, but is on the prosecution list of potential witnesses for the second trial. She pleaded guilty in March 2017 to capital murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Torres said he spanked Isaiah and once hit him with an extension cord, but his wife also hit the boy with a belt, he said. His wife would have one of their daughters hit Isaiah, he said.
Cook told Torres his son's death was the result of being raped with an object.
"Who raped Isaiah?" Cook asked.
"Not me," Torres said.
He said his son had a horrible death, but he didn't kill him.
"Who did it then?" Cook asked.
Torres said he didn't rape his son and didn't believe his wife committed the act.
Isaiah's death was the result of an accident, Torres claimed in the second interview with Cook.
"How was it an accident, Maurice?" Cook asked in the April 7, 2015, interview at the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
"It was an accident," Torres said. "I can't betray her."
Torres said he was worried he would be treated harsher than his wife.
He told Cook the incident happened near the door of their camper in Missouri.
"Please, Maurice," Cook said as he asked Torres to tell him what object was used to rape Isaiah.
Torres said he couldn't betray his wife. He repeated his claim Isaiah's death was the result of an accident. He and his wife were both guilty of the mistake, he said.
Dr. Franklin Mayhue, who worked at Mercy Bella Vista Medical Center, treated Isaiah on March 29, 2015, in the emergency room.
Mayhue testified Friday morning.
Mayhue said Isaiah arrived at the emergency room in cardiac arrest. Mayhue said Isaiah appeared to be suffering from ongoing abuse.
"He had wounds all over his body," Mayhue said. "This was an extreme picture of a child who was not only dead, but dead from a bizarre situation."
Stuart Cearley, chief deputy prosecutor, showed Mayhue photographs of Isaiah in the emergency room. The jury was able to see the images on the screens.
"Look at the bruising around the eyes and ears," Mayhue said as he looked at one of the photographs.
He pointed out other wounds on the boy's face and said they suggested neglect and physical abuse.
He noted bruises and wounds on the boy's side and abdomen. A nurse told him she saw blood on the boy's rectum, the doctor said.
Cearley questioned Mayhue about telling Mauricio and Cathy Torres their son was dead. Mayhue said there was no reaction from the couple.
"The was an absence of a normal grieving response from parents that lost a child," he said.
Birc Morledge, one of the attorneys for Torres, asked Mayhue if his client could have already been aware that his son was dead since he attempted CPR and it took a while to get him to the hospital.
Mayhue said he didn't know, but maintained the couple's reaction to the death was unusual.
The trial will resume Monday morning in Judge Brad Karren's courtroom.
NW News on 02/29/2020