Sister charged in Union death
By Patsy R. Brumfield
NEW ALBANY - Seventeen-year-old Marainna Torres has been charged with capital murder in the death of her 2-year-old adopted sister, Enna Barreto, Union County Justice Court records show.
Enna died May 19 in a Memphis hospital from head trauma. Her family publicly claimed she had fallen from a shopping cart during an outing in Memphis.
Janet Lee Killough Barreto, Enna's adoptive mother, is Torres' biological mother.
Torres has not been arrested yet in the death and is believed to be under psychiatric evaluation in a Memphis hospital, three separate sources told the Daily Journal on Friday. The record of her capital murder charge is dated May 30, said Justice Court Clerk Larissa Edwards.
Oxford defense attorney Thomas Levioditis has been or will be appointed to represent her, said Assistant District Attorney Kelly Luther.
Late Friday, it was unclear whether a judge had ordered the legal representation, but Luther and Levioditis confirmed the arrangement.
"I haven't spoken with her yet," said Levioditis, noting Torres is being treated "where she can be diagnosed."
Capital murder is a murder that occurs during the commission of another crime - in this case it's felony child abuse, said Union County sheriff's investigator Roger Garner.
As late at 5 p.m. Thursday, District Attorney Ben Creekmore told the Daily Journal no new charges had been filed in the case.
Ashland attorney Anthony Farese reacted to the murder-charge news by saying he now hopes he can get a reduced bond for his clients, Torres' 36-year-old mother, Janet, and her stepfather, Ramon Barreto, 29, who are still in the Union County Jail on $350,000 bond each from seven charges of child endangerment.
"I think this corroborates their versions of the events," he said Friday.
The Barretos reportedly are parents to nine children - seven foreign-born children, most believed to be from Guatemala, including Enna. In addition to Torres, the couple has a biological child in the household and Janet Barreto was several weeks pregnant when they were arrested soon after Enna's death was ruled a homicide.
Two weeks ago, Farese said his clients had nothing to do with Enna’s death and ultimately the investigation would reveal it was Torres who would be charged.
When county law enforcement went to the Barretos' 824 County Road 87 homesite after the child's death, they found a state of disarray at the doublewide and singlewide trailers connected by a hallway. They also found nearly 200 animals, mostly dogs, in cages as part of a puppy mill operation.
Those conditions led to the endangerment charges.
The Barretos' youngest children were placed into the custody of the state Department of Human Services, and Torres was provided a legal guardian. The animals were signed over to the Lee-Tupelo Humane Society for care and adoptions.
Chancery Court documents show Marainna Torres was born April 26, 1991, the daughter of Janet Killough Torres and Martin M. Torres. They were divorced in 2000.
She is believed to have attended Victory Christian Academy in New Albany.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org