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Grandfather found guilty in death of 2-year-old grandson

Joel Soto allowed toddler to ingest lethal drug dose

SAN ANTONIO – The jury in the trial of Joel Soto, 53, on late Friday afternoon found him guilty of felony murder, injury to a child, drug possession and arson charges.

Soto was accused of allowing his grandson Jeremy, 2, to ingest a lethal dose of methamphetamine on Nov. 16, 2013, and then setting his truck on fire with the child’s body inside to hide the crime.

Soto told authorities at the time that he’d had engine troubles that had sparked a flash fire. Experts testified that the fire originated in the truck’s passenger side and was the result of gasoline poured into the cab and set on fire.

The medical examiner testified that the child was dead when his body was set on fire.

“There was no evidence that the decedent was breathing at the time of the fire,” Dr. Kimberly Molina said during the trial.

Molina also testified that an autopsy found methamphetamine in the child’s body.

Soto is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison. Judge Ron Rangel will sentence him at a later date after reviewing a pre-sentencing investigation.

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