Man who pled guilty to murder of 9-year-old to be sentenced Monday

Thomas Soria Jr., the teenager who pleaded guilty to the murder and kidnapping of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman, will be sentenced Monday at 9 a.m. in Douglas County District Court.

Life in prison without the possibility of parole is the maximum sentence the judge could impose on Soria, 19, for murdering the South Lake Tahoe girl.

After Soria Jr. pleaded guilty in court he sat down with prosecutors and gave an oral statement about the crime.

"It was everything," said Deputy District Attorney Tom Perkins. "We asked about all we wanted to."

Soria's father, Thomas Soria Sr., remains charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of Krystal, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in his case.

Perkins said at Soria Jr.'s sentencing the judge is expected to determine if the crimes were sexually motivated. If so, the sentence will not change, but Soria Jr. would be labeled a sex offender, Perkins said.

Krystal was murdered March 19. Police found her body a day later down an embankment off Highway 50 and Clear Creek Road, about two miles west of Highway 395.

State attorneys are seeking the death penalty for Soria Sr. because of "additional aggravating circumstances" that include torture, sexual abuse and the young age of the victim, court documents stated.

Judge David R. Gamble said jury selection for Soria Sr.'s trial will begin Jan. 17, 2001. Soria Sr. will participate in a second trial later in 2001 for the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.


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