The man at the center of a child abuse case that drew widespread headlines made a rare appearance Thursday. For the first time in five years, Jorge Barahona stepped inside a courtroom.
Barahona, 48, listened to his lawyer and the prosecutor discuss combining the case against him in Palm Beach County with the charges against him in Miami-Dade County.
"Consolidation, I think, to some extent is a good thing for the defense. I don't think it's gonna help much from what I know of the case, but at least you give the state only one bite of the apple," said Alex Michaels, attorney.
Michaels has no connection to the Barahona case. He questions, though, whether Barahona can get a fair trial in Miami.
This case is hugely notorious. Nubia Barahona was murdered and Victor Barahona was tortured, allegedly at the hands of husband and wife, Jorge and Carmen Barahona.
"I don't think he'll get a fair trial here in Miami," Michaels expressed. "Too much notoriety, too much publicity. People are outraged over the fact of this case. You mention the name Barahona, everyone knows what it's all about."
Back in 2011, a road ranger found Jorge Barahona sprawled on the grass next to his truck on I-95 in West Palm Beach, with Nubia's body in the back and Victor covered in toxic chemicals.
Authorities in Palm Beach County charged Barahona with attempted murder, Miami-Dade prosecutors charged him with the murder of Nubia and child abuse.
Now it appears all charges will be heard in one trial in Miami. Jorge Barahona has opted not to attend the courtroom hearings between now and his trial.
"I understand why he doesn't want to be here. I understand because he's hated by almost everybody in this community and the more he appears on TV, the less chance of getting a fair trial," Michaels said.
Barahona's next court date is scheduled for August. Meanwhile, Carmen Barahona faces a murder charge in Miami-Dade.