A Thermal man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage relative was appointed a new attorney Wednesday, pushing back the start of his trial, which had been scheduled to begin this week.
Elit Barroso Miranda, 37, is charged with three counts of lewd acts with a child under 14 for alleged crimes that occurred between April and May 3 last year.
Jury selection was scheduled to get underway Thursday, but the deputy public defender assigned to the case declared a conflict, spurring Riverside County Superior Court Judge Otis Sterling to appoint the defendant a new attorney and schedule a trial-readiness conference for Aug. 28.
Miranda faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison if convicted as charged, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
During the defendant’s January preliminary hearing at the Larson Justice Center, sheriff’s Investigator Claudia Herrera testified that the 13-year-old alleged victim reported one instance in which she woke 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.
Prosecutors initially pursued a kidnapping charge in the case, but Riverside County Superior Court Judge Russell Moore ruled that the evidence submitted by prosecutors was insufficient to hold Miranda to answer to a count of kidnapping with intent to rape, along with 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 $55,000 bail.
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