Prosecutors want child to testify in murder case |

Prosecutors want child to testify in murder case

by Christy Chalmers, Tribune News Service

MINDEN – Prosecutors want a 9-year-old girl to testify about sexual abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of a man accused of assaulting and killing another young girl.

In a 10-page motion filed Dec. 22 in district court, the prosecutors state the girl’s testimony would substantiate the theory that Thomas Robert Soria Sr. kept a diary on sexually assaulting, torturing and killing women and girls, then followed through by killing Krystal Steadman, 9.

Soria Sr., 39, is scheduled to go to trial on sexual assault, kidnapping and murder charges Jan. 17 in Steadman’s death. She was found dead March 20 near U.S. Highway 50, a day after she disappeared from the Lake Park Apartments in Stateline. Soria Sr. lived at the complex.

District Judge Dave Gamble has already ruled that prosecutors can use a 17-page computer text file that describes fantasies of raping and killing women and girls. Investigators found the deleted file during a search of a hard drive on a computer that was in Soria Sr.’s bedroom closet.

Deputy District Attorney Kris Brown said in court papers that investigators found a 9-year-old girl who lived at the Lake Park complex in 1999. Brown said Soria Sr. lured the girl into his apartment, then removed her clothes and molested her. The girl’s mother, said Brown, could testify that the child came home with $20 that Soria Sr. allegedly gave the girl after touching her.

“The crimes committed by Soria Sr. on (the girl) and Krystal are remarkably similar,” Brown wrote. “They were both lured into (Soria’s apartment) by being promised a gift … Both girls were sexually molested. The difference is that (the girl) was allowed to leave.”

The girl’s testimony, Brown wrote, would “show a common scheme or plan.”

Brown also said prosecutors plan to present testimony from Soria’s son, Thomas Jr., and a security agent who worked for the California lottery.

Soria Jr., 20, previously pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping and was sentenced to life in prison. He told investigators he lured Steadman to the family apartment.

He said he was sexually abused by his father throughout his life. He also stated that his father asked him to introduce him (the father) to girls and young women.

The younger Soria’s testimony “would show that Soria Sr. has the specific emotional propensity to commit sex acts on children,” Brown wrote. “It would connect Soria Sr. with the types of sex acts described in the computer text and show that he actually engaged in those crimes and didn’t just fantasize about them.”

The security agent investigated Soria Sr. in a case that involved threatening phone calls made to female coworkers. The computer file makes references to the incident, Brown wrote.

Soria Sr. is currently being held at the Douglas County jail. He is due back in court for a hearing Jan. 9. His trial is expected to take three weeks, and prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

He faces a separate trial in March on a sexual assault charge. That case surfaced during the investigation of the Steadman murder.

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