Date set for Soria Sr. arraignment |

Date set for Soria Sr. arraignment

by Christy Chalmers

One of the Stateline men accused of killing a 9-year-old will be arraigned June 6 in Douglas District Court on a charge of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.

Thomas Robert Soria Sr., 39, decided Wednesday to waive a preliminary hearing in Tahoe Justice Court that would have determined if prosecutors had enough evidence to try him on the sexual assault charge. The move sends the case to district court, where a plea will be taken and a trial date set.

Soria’s son, Thomas Soria Jr., 19, had also been accused in the case, but the charge was dismissed Wednesday after prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence for a conviction.

Both men are due back in justice court May 8 for a preliminary hearing on the murder of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman. They are each charged with murder, kidnapping and two counts of sexual assault in that case.

Lawyers for both sides said the developments in the sexual assault case have no implications for the Steadman case. Soria Sr.’s lawyers refused to comment on why Soria Sr. decided to waive the preliminary hearing in the assault case.

Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins didn’t elaborate on the decision to drop the case against the son, except to say Soria Jr. wasn’t present when the assault allegedly happened in October 1999.

When they charged Soria Jr. in the case, prosecutors cited a state law that allows people accused of aiding and abetting a crime to be tried as principals.

Affidavits filed when the sexual assault charges were brought alleged Soria Jr. had befriended the girl and when she showed a romantic interest in him, he steered her toward Soria Sr., telling her that Soria Sr. suffered from tumors that could rupture and kill him if he became upset.

The assault case emerged during the investigation of Steadman’s death. Her body was found March 20 off Highway 50 near Carson City, a day after she disappeared from a parking lot at the Lake Park Apartments in Stateline, where the Sorias lived. The alleged victim in the assault case also lives at the complex.

The Sorias remain in jail without bail.