Elijah Strickland was
pronounced dead after he was transported to Easton
Hospital when First Responders arrived at the home
of his mother Lauren Anderson and her boyfriend, 21
year old Eugenio J. Torres.
Eugenio had a couple of stories to tell about what
happened to Elijah at first saying he had heard a
noise in the bathroom and went to check it out and
found that Elijah. A second story said that he had
been taking a bath WITH
Elijah and when he put him under the water to rinse
off the soap, the child stopped breathing adding
that when he stepped out of the tub, he slipped and
dropped the child. Either way, Eugino said that
Elija had only been dead about five minutes before
he called for help.
Elijah's injuries were said to include a skull
fracture, internal bleeding in his stomach and live
and burns so bad from scalding water that the skin
on his bottom was peeling off.
Eugenio had only been living with Lauren and Elijah
for about two weeks when she went to work one
morning leaving Eugenio to care for Elijah, that was
a big mistake on her part because he proceeded to
beat this innocent little boy to death:
of the extensive injuries this child sustained,
it is my opinion
that this child was tortured to death"
Zachary Lysek - Coroner
Eugenio was arrested and at his preliminary hearing,
Lauren broke down while listening to the details of
the injuries that her son suffered at the hands of
the man she trusted to take care of him. Eugenio was
said to have shown no emotion at all while the
details were heard in front of Judge Michael Koury
Jr. who sent the case to Northampton County for a
trial to take place.
Eugenio's family was there saying that he was
innocent and his Lawyers entered a not guilty plea
on his behalf:
son didn't do it, I stand by my son. He's not a
violent person, he loves children"
"All the truth will come out"
Eugenio Torres Sr.
District Attorney Terry Houck had not yet decided if
he would be seeking the death penalty against
Eugenio who would be arraigned on October 30, 2008:
absolutely 100 percent convinced he is guilty of
these charges. This
one of the worst cases of child abuse, physical
abuse, I have seen in my
years as a Prosecutor"
Terry Houck said that the abuse of children often
takes place when an adult who is not usually a
caregiver for children can't handle a child crying
or not behaving the way they want them to and that
while he wasn't sure of a motive at that point, he
was knew that Eugenio was not telling the truth
about what took place that day.
Joseph Sipel and EMT and Fireman said that when he
arrived at the apartment, he found Eugenio was doing
CPR on Elijah and that's when he was told that a
noise was heard and Eugenio found Elijah in the tub
and said that it had only been five minutes. Joseph
Sipel said that Elijah's hair was dry and his right
eye was swollen shut, his belly was distended and
his left eye was open and just staring while his
body was cool to the touch and he had no pulse at
Zachary Lysek said that the injuries on Elijah's
body showed that he had been hit multiple times on
his head and boy.
Family and friends of Eugenio came to the hearing
but made no comments to anyone. Eugenio was held
In November of 2010 a friend testified that Eugenio
had sounded crazy, saying he wanted to kill Elijah
on the day he had died:
just started babbling about leaving Lauren and
kid was irking his nerves"
Damion said that Eugenio told him he wanted to get
high by smoking Marijuana so he brought him a joint
and when he entered the apartment he saw Eugenio hit
Elijah with the back of his hand and after Elijah
started to whimper, he was dragged to the bathroom,
it wasn't much later that Eugenio ended up killing
this little Angel. The 911 tape was played as the
jurors listened and Eugenio was heard saying:
"Don't let him
Michael Corriere, Defense Lawyer for Eugenio said
that the tape was the best evidence to support
innocence in this case:
there, you're there as a child's life is
The tape, in the opinion of Michael Corriere, showed
the emotions that Eugenio was feeling while
attempting to save the life of Elijah. In court,
Eugenio put his head down on the table while another
Defense Lawyer, Bohdan Zelechiwsky tried to comfort
him. Another tape was played that had been made
while Eugenio was being interviewed about the over
80 bruises and multiple injuries that Elijah had.
Eugenio was saying that he felt responsible for his
I thought I could've helped him. I thought I
could save him.
A Pathologist testified that it was possible that
some of the bruising had occured while CPR was being
administered. Prosecutors said that Eugenio had
beaten Elijah to death to shut him up:
was this panic for? The child's death? Who is
now? Think about what his tears are for, who his
tears are for,
Pictures of the injuries were shown in court and
Terry Hock said that claims that this death could
have been an accident were nonsense and that claims
of the injuries happening during CPR were
are saved through CPR. They are not killed"
Terru Houck ended his statements by showing pictures
of Elijah side by side, one of his before he died
and one of his bruised body after he was beaten.
Elijah's grandmother closed her eyes while some
other people started to cry, Eugenio looked away and
was said to stare stone faced at the jury.
Lauren testified that she was never afraid to leave
her son with Eugenio alone, the couple had played
together with Elijah, read books to him and they all
seemed to be happy together with Eugenio even being
the one to cut Elijah's hair when it was needed.
When questioned by Eugenio's Lawyer in court, she
said that he sounded upset on the phone, crying and
hard to understand when he called to say something
was wrong. Lauren had been able to keep herself
composed in court up to the point where the blood
stained clothing of her son was brought out and then
she started to cry.
Pictures were shown to Lauren of how things were
after she had left that day. A belt was shown, the
belt had been found in Elijah's room, it belonged to
her and was now showing an orange stain. Pictures
showed that the apartment was not the way she left
it, with things being in "disarray", a poster in
Elijah's room was partially torn off of the wall,
his sheets were taken off of his bed and a closet
door was hanging off the track. Lauren said she left
for work at about 6:30 a.m. that day, shortly after
she left, a neighbor said she heard loud banging
noises coming from their apartment:
sounded like something getting thrown against
the wall. I never heard
like that before"
A nurse testified about what condition Elijah was in
when he reached the hospital:
had multiple bruises all over his body"
Joshua Torres lived with a woman at the time and her
name was Rebecca Caban. Rebecca gave testimony that
she had never been witness to any abuse by Eugenio:
was very loving toward Elijah. He would play
with him, babysit him.
had a good relationship"
Richard Bundie, a Pathologist, testified that it was
possible that some of the injuries could have been
from the accident that Eugenio described, saying
that the burns could have come from hot water in the
tub and other injuries could have been from being
dropped when Eugenio slipped. Richard Bundie said
that even with the different stories that had been
told, he was still of the opinion that it could have
been an accidental death. Richard Bundie did admit
that it was cause for suspicion that when Eugenio
spoke to Lauren on the phone after Elijah had been
injured, he never mentioned any of the injuries he
had or that anything was wrong at all.
The jury found 24 year old Eugenio Torres guilty of
first degree murder after deliberating for four
hours. Eugenio didn't show any emotion as he was
lead from the court room, he only told his mother
that he loves her. The jury would now face the
decision of either giving Eugenio the death penalty
or spend the rest of his life in prison, no chance
In court Terry Houck showed pictures again and said:
horror that this child, Elijah Strickland, had
to endure, beaten, burned
killed. The horror"
Michael Corriere said that none of the evidence had
pointed to premeditated murder and that all of it
showed that what happened had been an accident:
911 tape clearly indicates he was upset. He
cared about this
He was trying to help him"
I guess Michael Corriere forgot about the man who
testified to hearing Eugenio say he wanted to kill
Elijah and saw with his own eyes that he wasn't
afraid to his this child and then drag him down the
hallway and just a short time later, the Elijah was
dead. Terry Houck said that Eugenio had no choice
but to call after what he did, he knew Elijah was in
trouble and he needed to make it seem like an
accident had taken place.
Eugenio's mother was in court to plead for the life
of her son:
please have mercy on my son. Don't put him to
In November of 2010 Eugenio Torres caught a break
when the jury deadlocked on life or death, the
default sentence was life in prison without parole,
his life would be spared. The decision brought up
Elijah Strickland family will continue to pay
state of Pennsylvania
forever. Some of their money goes for the
incarceration of Torres.
a letter to the newspaper
Reports said if Eugenio lived for another 60 years,
he would receive 21,900 days worth of three meals a
day, a bed to sleep in, a roof over his head and all
of that was paid for by the taxpayers. A juror said
that the vote had been ten to two with two opposing
the death penalty:
whole experience was horrific"
Orr - Jury Foreman
In November of
2014, Eugenio had filed an appeal for post
conviction relief after having lost another
appeal attempt. The new appeal was before
presented to Judge Leonard Zito who ruled that
there were no valid claims that would allow for
post conviction relief and the claim was
dismissed without a hearing. Alezander Karam was
allowed to withdraw from the case in which he
was the court appointed Lawyer for Eugenio.
In the appeal, Eugenio had said that he was
innocent and had not had proper representation
during his trial saying that his Lawyer had
convinced him not to take the stand and defend
himself. Eugenio also said that Damion Moses had
recanted his testimony since the trial had
ended. Damian, who was in prison at the time he
was interviewed, had supposedly told a private
investigator that he had lied when he testified.
When he was out of prison, the private
investigator tried to interview him again and
was not able to contact him.
Judge Leonard Zito said that he didn't believe
the testimony of Damion had been a key factor in
the guilty verdict:
testimony of Moses was not essential to the
verdict and the
could easily have convicted Torres without
it. For these reasons,
discount the impact, if any, that Moses'
prison recantation would
had on a possible appellate claim, even if
he had followed up
Corriere after his release from prison"
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