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Computer file details accused child killer Soria’s writings

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Accused child killer Thomas Soria Sr. kept a computer file that describes fantasies of sexually assaulting, torturing and killing women and girls, prosecutors say.

The computer file contains “striking similarities between the text and the events that led to Krystal Steadman’s death,” Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins says, and he has asked District Judge Dave Gamble to allow it as evidence in the January trial scheduled for Soria Sr.

Soria Sr., 39, is charged with the murder, kidnap and sexual assault of Steadman, 9. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

His son, Thomas Soria Jr., now 20, already pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping and has been sentenced to life in prison without possible parole. Soria Jr. also agreed to testify against his father.

In a motion filed Sept. 25, Perkins said investigators located a computer and 63 pornographic videotapes in Soria Sr.’s bedroom closet, along with children’s toys, dolls and games.

A 17-page text file in the computer referred to children Soria had met since 1975 and included a list of girls’ names and ages. Investigators say they interviewed the girls and three said they were sexually assaulted by Soria Sr. He is scheduled to stand trial in one of those cases in March 2001.

The computer file had been accessed at 12:30 a.m. March 19, hours before Steadman disappeared, Perkins wrote. The file incriminates Soria Sr., he said.

“In graphic language, the defendant describes his appetite for the sexual assault of children and adults, his ideal female, a young, white, petite blond, and his intention to rape, sodomize, torture and kill such a person,” Perkins wrote. “The striking similarities between the text and the events that led to Krystal Steadman’s death…tend to prove that he was the perpetrator of these crimes, and that they were premeditated.”

A ruling on the request to present the computer file as evidence could be made the week of Oct. 23. Gamble has scheduled a hearing on any outstanding issues or motions that need to be decided.

In addition to the computer file, Perkins filed a lengthy set of arguments on whether DNA testing should be allowed as evidence. Investigators used DNA tests to link Soria Sr. to Steadman’s death.

Soria Sr.’s lawyers have challenged the inclusion of DNA evidence for several reasons, including the reliability of the tests and decisions in other jurisdictions. They also say prosecutors have no other evidence putting him at the murder scene or connecting him to the body.

Steadman disappeared from a parking lot at the Lake Park Apartments in Stateline March 19. Investigators found her naked, battered body a day later off Highway 50 a few miles west of Highway 395.

Soria Jr., who had been seen playing with Steadman before she disappeared, was arrested a day later. His father was arrested a week later in an unrelated sexual assault case, then charged in Steadman’s death.

Soria Sr. remains jailed.