Mother Pleads Guilty to Murder and Torture of Adopted Daughter

Carmen Barahona, the mother of Nubia Barahona, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder among other charges. She has been spared the death penalty for testimony that she will give against her husband who was also implicated in the grisly murder. Jorge Barahona faces the death penalty if convicted.

This story made national headlines after it became known that the couple adopted and then tortured two adopted twins. One of their children died as a result of the torture. The other is still alive.

Prosecutors said that her guilty plea will help the remaining child put the experience behind them and gain closure and see justice prevail. Carmen Barahona will face life in prison.

What Happened?

On Valentines Day of 2011, police found the rotting body of ten-year-old Nubia Barahona in the back of Jorge Barahona’s pesticide truck. Her twin brother, Victor, was found in the front seat suffering from severe chemical burns and seizures.

The couple adopted the twins two years earlier. According to police, the children endured beatings, starvation, and medical neglect. At one point, they had been tied up and forced to stay in the bathtub.

The Department of Children and Families was criticized during the course of the investigation for not following up on warning signs that the children were being abused. This resulted in a settlement paid to Victor over their failure to act on his behalf and save his sister. Nubia’s death also prompted the impromptu creation of a task force aimed at recommending reforms that would prevent something like this from happening again. The task force recommended hiring more child abuse investigators and making changes to its child abuse hotline.

Carmen Barahona’s Case Isn’t Over

The sentence of life imprisonment is conditional. Carmen Barahona will be expected to testify against her husband on the state’s behalf. It is typical in cases like these for one conspirator to turn on the other and claim that they were the ringleader. That looks likely to happen here as well.

Jorge Barahona will face a litany of charges that range in severity from child endangerment to first-degree murder. There is little to no chance that he will not be executed for his crimes pending his wife’s testimony against him.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but that is common in cases where the prosecution wants the death penalty. Defendants will never plead guilty to charges when facing a death penalty (or a maximum sentence). The prosecution would have been expected to offer a plea deal such as life imprisonment for the guilty plea. But because they have his wife, they don’t need him.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm can defend you from the charges and protect your rights and interests as the case moves forward. Call us today and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.


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