A Thermal man must stand trial on charges of sexually assaulting a teenage relative, but not on a kidnapping count, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Russell Moore found that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to hold Elit Barroso Miranda, 36, to answer to three counts of lewd acts with a child under 14 for alleged crimes that occurred between April and May 3 last year.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Miranda three days later at a home in the 88000 block of Avenue 70.
During the defendant’s preliminary hearing at the Larson Justice Center, sheriff’s Investigator Claudia Herrera testified that the 13-year-old victim reported waking up to find Miranda, dressed in only boxer briefs, in the bed she was sleeping in with several of her siblings. Miranda then allegedly picked her up and brought her into another room, where he assaulted her, Herrera said.
After several back-and-forth exchanges regarding the nature of kidnapping between the judge and each side, Moore ruled the evidence submitted by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office was insufficient to hold Miranda to answer to a charge of kidnapping with intent to rape and a kidnapping allegation attached to one of the lewd act counts.
Miranda is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta in lieu of $1 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court for an information arraignment and bail review on Jan. 22.
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