MIAMI (CBS4) – Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against Jorge and Carmen Barahona who are accused of torturing two of their adopted children and killing their adopted daughter 10-year old Nubia.

Originally the Barahonas had been charged with first degree murder in the death of Nubia and seven counts each of aggravated child abuse and neglect for their treatment of her and her twin brother Victor. Last week they were indicted by a grand jury which brought three more charges including a new count of neglect involving another of the couple’s adopted children, an 11-year old boy.

The couple was formally arraigned Monday before Judge Sarah Zabel, both pled not guilty. In the courtroom, Jorge Barahona was wearing a green padded gown worn by prisoners on suicide watch. Both Carmen and Jorge Barahona had tried to waive this appearance, but Judge Zabel wanted them present so prosecutor Gail Levine could announce the state’s decision concerning the death penalty in front of them.

The decision was not unexpected. Three weeks ago, when additional charges were added in this case, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told CBS4’s Gary Nelson, “If there ever was a case for the death penalty, it would be this one.”

Carmen Barahona stared silently during the announcement while her husband shed tears; his public defender described him as emotionally unstable.

Also in attendance at the hearing was Joanne Muniz who said she came to represent Nubia who used to go to Blue Lakes Elementary School with her son.

“It’s horrible, it’s horrible,” said Muniz. “It’s terrible I was thinking I’m sitting in a court room waiting to see two people to come out, and waiting to hear what they’ve been charged with, people who have done something terrible to a child.”

Muniz told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “I’m here for her, Nubia. It’s important to remember the children who are at the core of this case. The children who are no longer here. I think in future we have to be more vigilant to prevent something from happening and even stay in touch with school administrators too.”

Muniz said the Barahonas “look aged in court. They have a very frail look.”

The Barahonas will likely remain behind bars until their trials because the murder charges against them carry no bond. A trial date of July 18th has been set.

According to Miami-Dade investigators the Barahonas beat Nubia to death in their home after a long history of abuse of both of her and her brother Victor. They often bound the children hand and foot, police claim, and forced them to sit in a bathtub for days on end.

In addition to the charges in Miami-Dade, Jorge Barahona has also been charged with attempted murder in Palm Beach County.

Last Valentine’s Day he was found in the front seat of his truck parked along I-95 in West Palm Beach along with Victor who was having a seizure. Police said the boy was suffering from severe chemical burns. In the back of the truck investigators found the decomposing body of Nubia.

The abuse of the twins was overlooked by caseworkers for the Department of Children and Families, despite a number of warning events. This prompted a blue-ribbon panel investigation, and a promise by DCF to change a number of procedures to help prevent cases like the Barahonas’ from falling through the cracks.

Victor and two other children adopted by the Barahonas have been placed in foster care.

Barahona’s attempted murder trial in Palm Beach County is set for January 30th, 2012.

Peter D'Oench

Comments (22)
  1. BVC says:

    Why waste tax payers monies, just take them straight to the Electric Chair or Gas Chambers. These monsters don’t deserve to live.

    1. junior says:

      Oh please, their taxpayer funded inept lawyers haven’t stolen enough of our money yet.

    2. derotts3 says:

      Actually they should be done in the same manner they inflicted on those poor children – May God have mercy on their Souls!!! Its for sure once they have been convicted they will get what is coming to them!!!!!!! Those in prison do have their own set of rules and they hate people who do such horrible things to children.

    3. JL says:

      no. let them get what’s coming to them in jail..hehehe…what goes ’round comes ’round. you do know what they do to pedo and child killers in jail don’t you?

  2. rausky says:

    Fry these lowlives already! Don’t waste my taxes!!

  3. yokolee says:

    Speechless…

  4. sANDY says:

    Where arethe charges of neglect and abuse against all DCFemployees who were involved? That is the big QUESTION.

    1. m says:

      True…thy are ALL at fault.

    2. Lynn Moscoso says:

      Agreed! Frying this filth doesn’t resolve the bigger issue of a broken, child “protection” system. This “blue” ribbon panel is a repeat of Gabriel Myers and other panels. We want results!

  5. ashley says:

    When a defendant is sentenced to the death sentence, they always appeal, often multiple times, and sit on death row for years, their appeals resulting in tens of thousands of dollars that we, the taxpayers, must pay out of our own pockets. I agree that these people, if found guilty, do not deserve the luxury of live. but ultimately in this sick, sad world, for criminals like these I think we should really look at what is the lesser burden on the economy: life imprisonment or the death penalty? for me, it really comes down to dollars and cents, and keeping low-lives out of society and off the streets.

  6. Grandma1 says:

    Why do innocent children have to be neglected, tortured or killed before the responsible agencies are made to explain/account for their neglience and failure to DEFEND AND PROTECT these helpless angels?
    As for the Barahonas – just hand them over to parents who have suffered the loss of their child or couples unable to have children and so want a child to love and nurture. They would receive the same mercy they showed to Nubia, her brother and the other children in their “care”.

  7. SherryJ says:

    It seems that the let the worst people foster and adopt kids. And most of these people have previous charges of child neglect. Mean while people that are childless can’t adopt for whatever reason. I just dont get it. I feel so sorry for these children they were put in foster care so they could be safe, but are often abused even worse or even murdered.

  8. Red says:

    I think they should charge the DCF employee in this case as well. They are very much at fault here.

    1. m says:

      I agree, it’s her fault that this happened.

  9. rosa says:

    last week the state of New York indicted a DCF case worker & his supervisor in the death of a child killed by her mother, this child had been supervised by New York”s DCF, I don’t know if the state of Florida has similar laws, if it has them; they should be implemented, if not our legislators should look into it.

  10. Arlene Francis says:

    WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPENED TO THE DCF EMPLOYEES. THEY NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TOO!!

  11. TIMOTHY LUCAS says:

    I WOULD ACTUALLY PAY THE COURTS TO INFLICT THE MISERY THOSE TWO MONSTERS HAVE GIVIN THOSE POOR KIDS

  12. m says:

    “Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told CBS4’s Gary Nelson, “If there ever was a case for the death penalty, it would be this one.”

    This is one really horrible crime commited but there are pleanty of cases that deserve the Death Penalty. I think that anyone who kills anyone, should not live if found guilty. An eye for an eye.

  13. Isabelle says:

    Directly to the gas chamber…no stop…just goooo!

  14. isabelle says:

    The same thing happened many years ago with the killing of baby lollipop, when DCF workers neglected to conduct investigations properly on abuse that were being reported.

  15. LS says:

    It’s about time a DA steps up and puts child killers to death in this country!! Way to go FLA, we’re watching you. Set an example for the rest of the nation!! Stop crimes against our children!!!