RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The man who kidnapped and later killed a 17-year-old Moreno Valley girl should never again be a free man, twelve jurors decided today.
On July 15, 2010, Norma Lopez, it was just like any other summer day as she took a short cut from Valley View High School through a field to visit with her boyfriend. The difference that day is Norma never showed up at her boyfriend’s house, and never returned home. No one heard from her and that was the beginning of what would be a family’s worst nightmare. As the community united and the detectives searched there were few signs of Norma, besides for some of her personal belongings that were found strewn in the field.
When detectives spoke with those in the area, a witness described a green-colored SUV speeding out of the field mostly covered in dirt. Five days later, a homeowner who lived on Theodore Street in East Moreno Valley, around 4 miles from where she went missing, was working on his yard using his tractor when he made a grisly discovery. He found the young woman faced down, with no top and wearing jeans. The body was positively identified as Norma Lopez. At the time of the kidnapping, Torres lived in the same area where the kidnapping occurred.
On March 13, 2019, the seven-man and five-woman jury found Jesse Perez Torres, 42, guilty of a single count of first-degree murder. They also found true the special circumstances of murder during the commission of a felony, kidnapping. On March 20, 2019, the jury, after an hour-long deliberation, decided that Torres should be sentenced to death for the murder.
A hearing is scheduled for April 12, 2019, to decide if there will be an Atkins hearing which was requested by the defense. The Atkins hearing can be heard and decided on by a judge or a jury and determined whether the defendant has a mental or intellectual disability that disqualifies them from being sentenced to death. A sentencing date will be set sometime following the April 12th court date.
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