Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced that a Mercer County grand jury returned a seven-count indictment this week charging a Trenton man for the murder of his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter.
Maison Andres Torres, 25, of Trenton, was indicted on one count of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree murder in the commission of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
He remains in the Mercer County Correction Center.
According to police, at approximately 4:20 p.m. on August 21, Trenton police responded to a home in the 1500 block of Chestnut Avenue on a report of an unresponsive 28-month-old girl who fell down the stairs.
The victim, identified as Lia Victoria Merino-Rodriguez, was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department revealed that Torres caused Lia’s death by burning her with scalding water, striking her with his fists and suffocating her with his hands.
An autopsy was conducted on August 22 and based on the findings, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office filed additional complaints charging Torres with two counts of first- degree aggravated sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the victim’s cause of death was homicidal violence.
The indictment is a result of an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force. Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward presented the case to the grand jury.
The addition of the indictment count of murder in the commission of aggravated sexual assault requires the defendant, if convicted, be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Despite having been indicted, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.