A Douglas man accused of killing a 2-year-old boy in January will not be offered a plea agreement by prosecutors who said Monday that they’re planning on taking the defendant to trial.
But because a judge ruled that the case is complex, Mario Toscano likely will not be facing a jury until the spring of 2021, Assistant Cochise County Attorney Michael Powell said in court.
“There will be no plea agreement,” Powell told Cochise County Superior Judge Timothy Dickerson at a hearing Monday. “This case is going to trial.”
While the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty — in which case a plea agreement would not be offered — Powell told the Herald/Review Monday he cannot comment on what he will be asking for at trial.
“I believe that in this case there isn’t a plea that would be appropriate,” Powell said in an email after the hearing. He explained that he was limited in what he could reveal.
“I am permitted to state that there is currently no plea offer being extended. I am permitted to state that the State is not seeking the death penalty,” he said.
Toscano is charged with second-degree murder, child abuse, and aggravated assault in the death of the toddler. The child died on Jan. 7 at a Tucson hospital, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office investigators said.
Toscano was arrested in Douglas by the sheriff’s office on Jan. 5, after investigators were notified by staff at the emergency room of Douglas’ Copper Queen Hospital that the child was not breathing and had questionable injuries, records show.
Detectives questioned hospital staff, the boy’s mother and Toscano. Following those interviews, they obtained a search warrant and combed through the house where the child’s mother lived with Tosano.
The boy, meanwhile, had been stabilized at Copper Queen Hospital and was then taken to Tucson, where he died a few days later, authorities said. A grand jury indicted Toscano on the second-degree murder charge on Jan. 9.
Toscano’s case was designated as “complex” in early June, which gives attorneys have more time to prepare for trial.
According to Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 8.2 (a)(3), which addresses time limits for a speedy trial, a defendant’s trial must be held no later than 150 days after the individual is arraigned, if the defendant is in custody.
But if the case is designated complex, then the time limit is extended and the trial must be held no later than 270 days after the defendant’s arraignment.
Meanwhile, child abuse charges were also lodged against Erika Parra, the boy’s mother, but Parra failed to show up in court and has yet to be arrested, Powell said Monday.
Toscano is being held at the Santa Cruz County Jail.