A Tucson man who stabbed his girlfriend to death in the presence of their 18-month-old daughter was sentenced to 19 years in prison Monday in Pima County Superior Court.
Carlos Torres, 20, was facing between 10 and 22 years in prison in the Aug. 8, 2011, death of Ignacia Aranda, 17.
A Pima County jury was asked to convict Torres of first-degree, premeditated murder, but convicted him of second-degree murder instead.
Prosecutors Kellie Johnson and Kendrick Wilson argued Torres should receive no less than 20 years, because of the baby’s presence, the emotional harm to Aranda's family and because Torres has a history of violent behavior.
Although Torres is considered intellectually disabled with an IQ of 51, Johnson told Judge Richard Fields he knew right from wrong. His daughter will now grow up without a mother, she pointed out.
Assistant Pima County Public Defender Michael Rosenbluth told the judge his client is remorseful. He argued for a mitigated sentence because of Torres’ age, mental capacity and dysfunctional childhood.
“Deep down, he’s a decent human being your honor,” Rosenbluth said, adding Torres hopes to better himself in prison by obtaining his general equivalency diploma and taking additional classes.
During Torres’ trial, jurors were told the couple argued because Aranda had gone through Torres’ belongings while he was visiting another girlfriend.
At 8:30 a.m. Aug. 9, Torres called the other girlfriend and told her Aranda had stabbed herself to death, Johnson said. The girlfriend called Torres’ mother, who called 911. When detectives arrived, they discovered Aranda had been dead for hours, Johnson said.
An autopsy revealed Aranda had been stabbed in the face and neck between 19 and 25 times.
Assistant Pima County Public Defender Adam Page told jurors Aranda found a "Girls Gone Wild" video while Torres was away and they argued about it.
When Aranda called her mother to pick her up, Page said, Torres begged her to stay, they "kissed and made up" and began playing video games.
The argument heated up again, though, when Aranda found texts between Torres and the other girlfriend, and a downloaded picture of a scantily clad Kim Kardashian.
Aranda punched Torres and he pushed her away, Page said.
When Aranda said, “I wish you were dead and I wish I had my baby with somebody else," Page said, Torres "snapped.”
Page and Rosenbluth argued the slaying wasn't premeditated but a crime of passion.
Torres told Aranda’s family he was sorry for his “horrible crime” and for forcing them to see pictures of Aranda’s lifeless body during the trial.
“I deserve to be punished,” he said.
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On StarNet: Follow the news and events at Pima County's courthouses in Kim Smith's blog, At the Courthouse, at azstarnet.com/courthouse