MIAMI Florida state prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a Miami-Dade County couple charged with torturing and killing their 10-year-old adopted daughter and abusing her twin brother, a spokesman said on Monday.
Carmen and Jorge Barahona face an 18-count indictment including charges of first-degree murder, torture and child neglect.
The body of Nubia Barahona, 10, was found in a plastic bag in the back of Jorge Barahona's pickup truck by police on February 14. Her twin Victor was found in the truck doused with chemicals.
"Today, we did announce our intention to seek the death penalty in the cases of Carmen Barahona and Jorge Barahona," said Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney, said in a statement.
The couple pleaded not guilty before a Miami-Dade court judge, who set their trial for July 18.
The case has shocked the public and raised questions about authorities' supervision of adoptions and child care.
The indictment accuses the couple of beating Nubia to death, repeatedly hitting her with a shoe, broom or whip, locking her in a bathroom and binding her hands and legs.
It accuses them of similar mistreatment of Victor, including beatings, placing him in a garbage bin and putting a plastic bag over his head causing him to lose consciousness.
The couple also are accused of neglecting a third adoptive child.
(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)