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Thermal man charged with molesting girl has bail reduced

1-8-ELIT-MIRANDA-Q2

A Thermal man charged with molesting a teenage girl had his bail reduced today from $1 million to $55,000, in the wake of the dismissal of a kidnapping count.

The bail reduction approved by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Burke Strunsky came two weeks after another judge ordered 36-year-old Elit Barroso Miranda to stand trial on three counts of lewd acts with a child under 14 for alleged crimes that occurred between April and May 3 last year.

Superior Court Judge Russell Moore ruled Jan. 8 that the evidence submitted by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office was insufficient to hold Miranda to answer on a count of kidnapping with intent to commit lewd acts, as well as a related sentencing enhancement allegation attached to one of the lewd act counts.

The district attorney's office can still amend the charges to include kidnapping at a later date, Moore said at the time.

Miranda could have been exposed to a life sentence in state prison without the possibility of parole had he been held to answer to the kidnapping charge.

Miranda, who is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, is due back in court on Feb. 20 for a trial-readiness conference.

During the defendant's preliminary hearing earlier this month at the Larson Justice Center, sheriff's Investigator Claudia Herrera testified that the victim reported waking up to find Miranda, dressed in only boxer briefs, in the bed the teen was sleeping in with several of her siblings. Miranda then picked her up and brought her into another room, where he molested her, Herrera alleged.

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