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Published On: Tue, Apr 22nd, 2014

Former Marine Jorge Torrez won’t battle against death penalty

An ex-Marine facing possible execution for the 2009 murder of a fellow service member ordered his lawyers Monday not to make any arguments to spare his life. The man is also connected to a Zion, Ill. double murder.

Jorge Torrez, 25, is facing the death penalty as the trial moved into the sentencing phase. Torrez is a multiple murderer who has been charged with killing two young girls in his hometown of Zion when he was just 16 years old.

Jorge Torrez photo/police handout

Jorge Torrez photo/police handout

In the absence of any opposition, prosecutor Jonathan Fahey pressed ahead with their case that DNA evidence links Torrez to the 2005 slayings of 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias, and that Torrez admitted killing the girls in a recorded conversation made by a jailhouse informant.

“He talked in detail about how he stabbed them. He laughed about it,” Fahey said.

A jury in U.S. District Court convicted Torrez, 25, earlier this month of the murder of Navy sailor Amanda Snell at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in July 2009. Her murder had gone unsolved for more than year, and investigators were not even sure at first that Snell had even been a victim of foul play.

After the medical examiner failed to classify her death as a homicide, the case became unclear, but a jury connected the dot to Torrez, who now faces the death penalty.

Torrez’s lawyer, Robert Jenkins, declined comment on whether his client has expressed a preference for execution. But he said it is not uncommon for defendants in capital cases to prefer execution over life in prison.

“If Mr. Torrez’s goal is to receive a death sentence, the government is helping him achieve that goal,” Jenkins said.

If he were permitted to do so, Jenkins said he would argue that life in prison is the worst possible punishment the jury could impose on Torrez. Jenkins said it is difficult as a defense lawyer to stand aside and do nothing to defend your client, but that he has no choice.

Torrez did contest the guilt phase of his trial, questioning the government’s evidence in the case. But the jury convicted him after deliberating for a little over a day.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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