‘I participated in the kidnapping which led to the death of Krystal’
Chained by his hands and feet, Thomas Soria Jr. managed to stand Tuesday and announce his decision to plead guilty to kidnapping and killing a 9-year-old girl, who was found March 20 at the side of U.S. Highway 50.
“I participated in the kidnapping which led to the death of Krystal Steadman,” said Soria Jr., who told the court the crimes took place at his residence in the Lake Park Apartment in Stateline.
His father, Thomas Soria Sr., has also been charged in the child’s slaying and could stand trial this summer.
With his statement Soria Jr. resigned himself to the possibility of life in prison. He also made the case against his father stronger.
He has agreed as part of his plea bargain to provide the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office with a sworn statement about Steadman’s death and to testify against his father if he is called on.
In exchange for his plea and his statement prosecutors promised not to seek the death penalty for Soria Jr., and to drop the charge of sexual assault against him.
“Obviously he is unhappy about going to jail, but his demeanor is good and I think he is happy this is being resolved,” said Tod Young, one the attorneys representing Soria Jr. “This gives him the potential to come out of prison alive. He is accepting responsibility for his actions and will have the opportunity to survive his sentence.”
Soria Jr. has not given prosecutors his statement yet, nor has he been subpoenaed to appear in court. The District Attorney’s office agreed not to call him as a witness during his father’s preliminary hearing which ended Tuesday when Soria Sr. was ordered to stand trial for kidnapping, murder and sexual assault.
Soria Sr. will be arraigned on those charges – and a separate charge of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl – June 6. Three days later Soria Jr. will be sentenced and could face as little as 20 years in prison, or he could die there.
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