Jorge Guerrero-Torres, who is facing the death penalty for the murder of 9-year-old Diana Alvarez, had a pre-trial conference on Thursday.
Guerrero-Torres had been living with Diana’s family prior to her disappearance, when she was abducted from her home in San Carlos Park on May 29, 2016.
Guerrero-Torres was ultimately arrested and charged for her kidnapping. Her remains were not found until 2020 near Yeehaw Junction in Central Florida.
Investigators found pictures of Diana on his cell phone.
He was later convicted in federal court for child pornography relating to those photos and sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.
Guerrero-Torres is currently in the Lee County Jail waiting to go to trial for Diana’s murder.
He is charged in state court for her murder and potentially faces the death penalty.
During the pre-trial conference, 17 of 50 depositions had been completed since there’s been difficulty finding witnesses, which has slowed the case. They hope to have the rest completed by the end of the year.
The next in-person pre-trial conference is set for October, 24 at 3 p.m. That’s when Judge Margaret Steinbeck set the deadline for everything in the case to be filed. Steinbeck added that there would be no further delays after Nov. 30.
Currently, Guerrero-Torres’s case is one of the oldest open cases in the 20th Judicial Circuit.
Diana’s mom, Rita Hernandez, wants the death penalty for Guerrero-Torres. Right now, he gets to eat, sleep and live his life in jail while every day she dies inside over the loss of her daughter.
The judge said on Thursday that the decision on whether this will be a death penalty case will come later.
Hernandez said she wants justice and closure.
“Why did this person have to be so cruel towards my daughter, she was just a little girl who was 9. It’s been a long time and something has to happen,” said Hernandez.
Judge Steinbeck wants the case to be in court by the spring of 2023.