VAN NUYS (CNS) – A father accused of stabbing his toddler to death and setting their North Hollywood apartment ablaze pleaded not guilty today to charges of murder, assault on a child causing death and arson.
Noe Torres’ arraignment was delayed until this morning because he was hospitalized following the Oct. 21 fire. The 48-year-old defendant is due back in court Dec. 6, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
Torres was reportedly drug-crazed and arguing with the girl’s mother when he allegedly stabbed his 13-month-old daughter about 11 a.m. in front of family members, then set a small fire inside the Vanowen Street apartment.
Prosecutors said Torres stabbed himself and then jumped out a back window while engulfed in flames. When police arrived, a kitchen knife was still in his body.
The toddler’s mother took her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Los Angeles police Capt. Steve Carmona said investigators found evidence that Torres had used drugs — possibly methamphetamine.
Torres, who’s being held on more than $2 million bail, faces up to 3 years to life in prison if convicted as charged.