SAN ANTONIO – The grandfather of a 2-year-old child who died as a result of a drug overdose admitted to a Child Protective Services caseworker that he had used methamphetamines prior to the death of his grandson.
Joel Soto, 53, is on trial facing felony murder charges in the death of his grandson, Jeremy, on Nov. 16, 2013.
He has also been indicted on charges of arson, drug possession, and injury to a child by allowing his grandson to ingest a lethal dose of methamphetamine.
Rebecca Moreno, a CPS caseworker, testified Thursday that Soto admitted using methamphetamines.
“He admitted that he had been using for the two weeks prior to me interviewing him on Nov. 17, 2013,” Moreno testified.
Prosecutors allege that after discovering that the child was dead, Soto set his truck on fire and claimed that the child died in the fire.
He told authorities that he was having engine trouble on his truck and poured gasoline into the carburetor which sparked a flash fire.
A fire investigator with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms testified that his findings did not support Soto’s story.
“The fire spread from the passenger compartment toward the engine compartment,” Ryan McCormick testified. “The fire originated in the passenger compartment of the vehicle and it was the ignition ignitable liquid, namely gasoline, by an open flame.”
Testimony in Soto’s trial will resume on Friday in Judge Ron Rangel’s 379th District Court.
A conviction could mean a life prison sentence for Soto.
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