MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A trial date has been set for the man accused of murdering his wife and two daughters and then stuffing their bodies in a closet in the woman’s northwest Miami-Dade home.
Thursday morning, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Dennis Murphy set Alberto Sierra’s trial date for April 29th.
Sierra, 28, is facing three counts of first degree murder, three counts of kidnapping, armed burglary and two counts of abusing a human body. A grand jury indictment will allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
Sierra, who reportedly confessed to the murders during questioning by police, filed a written plea of not guilty on November 29th. He was assigned Patrick Nally as his public defender.
The bodies of four-year-old Daniela Padrino, six-year-old Julia Padrino, and their mother Gladys Del Carmen Sierra were discovered in a closet of their home at NW 4th Street and NW 73rd Avenue on November 13th, 2012.
Miami-Dade Police said all three victims were suffocated with plastic bags; the mother and oldest daughter were sexually assaulted after they were dead.
“It is unexplainable. I have no idea how someone could get something like this in their minds,” said Michael Padrino, the father of the two girls.
Padrino had been involved in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife when she was living with and later married to Alberto Sierra.
In October 2011, the same month that Sierra and Gladys were married, Sierra was reportedly investigated by the state’s child welfare agency after Julia told a teacher that her stepfather had bitten her on the arm.
Padrino asked for sole custody of the children, writing a judge that his daughter’s lives were in danger.
But the Department of Children and Families closed out its investigation when Sierra was arrested in November of 2011 on charges of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon.
At the time, Sierra and Gladys were living together. According to records, police seized a shotgun, rifle, and ammunition. Sierra’s probation was revoked and he was sentenced to 364 days in a Miami-Dade jail after pleading guilty. He was released from jail in late June 2012.
Sierra has a criminal record dating back to 2005 that includes arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, selling cocaine and the illegal possession of weapons by a convicted felon. In 2010, he was charged with domestic battery after he reportedly bit Gladys on the forearm and stole her gun.