MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The man accused of torturing and killing his adopted daughter was back in court Wednesday morning.
During the proceeding, the defense for Jorge Barahona, 52, asked the judge to delay the start of his trial due to his wife taking a plea deal in which she agreed to testify against him. Carmen Barahona, 69, will receive a life prison sentence in exchange for her testimony.
On Valentine’s Day 2011, police found the decomposing body of ten-year-old Nubia Barahona in the back of her adoptive father’s pesticide truck parked on the side of I-95 in West Palm Beach. In the front seat, they found her twin brother Victor, suffering seizures from chemical burns.
The Barahonas adopted Nubia and Victor in 2009 after living in their home since 2004. The kids, authorities discovered, had endured starvation, beatings, medical neglect and they had been tied up and forced to stay in a bathtub.
The Department of Children and Families came under fire during the course of the police investigation into Nubia’s death for failing to piece together warning signs from medical professionals and school officials that something was wrong in the Barahona home.
The agency blamed it on a system-wide failure, including a poor judgment by child protective investigators, overwhelming caseloads and missed opportunities at every turn.
Nubia’s death prompted the creation of a task force to recommend reforms, such as hiring more child-abuse investigators and making changes to the state’s abuse and neglect hotline.
DCF eventually agreed to a settlement that called for paying Victor $5 million for allowing the Barahonas to adopt the children despite signs of abuse. It paid $1.25 million before Florida lawmakers signed off on the rest, $3.75 million, in 2017.
Jorge Barahona faces the death penalty if convicted in Nubia’s death.
The judge did not set a trial date and Barahona is expected back in court next month.