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Christopher Torres Civil Case, Day 4

March 13th, 2014 at 9:28 am by under Latest Posts, Live Events

The civil trial continues in the Christopher Torres case. Torres was shot and killed by APD officers at the family home in Taylor Ranch in April of 2011.

KRQE reporters @krqecole and @gburkNM have live updates (most recent updates are displayed first):

  • Torres trial done for the day. Closing arguments tomorrow
  • Torres’ Attny questions DNA expert who testifies she can’t determine source of Torres’ DNA on Hilger’s gun.
  • DNA expert testifies forensic evidence shows Torres’ DNA on officer Hilger’s gun.
  • Toxicology expert now done with testimony. City calls next witness: Donna Manogue, forensic scientist who works with APD
  • Toxicology expert questioned by Torres’ Attny says spice side effects may also include ‘calmness, sedation, feeling of well-being.’
  • Judge tells defense attny many materials she plans on bringing up during toxicology testimony is not relevant to his expertise/is assumption
  • Toxicology expert: One of Torres’ prescribed anti-psychosis meds not found in his system. Estimates he hadn’t taken it for at least 2 wks.
  • Toxicology expert testifies synthetic cannabinoids found in Torres’ body up to 60 times more potent than marijuana.
  • In court now for Chris Torres trial re. civil suit involving his shooting death in 2011. Defense now questioning Doc as expert in toxicology
  • Quick break now before wrapping up with former APD Chief Ray Schultz deposition, family’s last witness
  • Renetta wraps up testimony saying family “will always remember his infectious sense of humor…just a very caring human being.”
  • Renetta on losing Christopher, “it’s a pain, an emptiness beyond anything you can describe.” Wasn’t sure she’d “ever be able to go home.”
  • Recalling learning the news, “she said, i regret to inform you, your son is deceased.” Renetta says there was a “no communication” with APD
  • Renetta remembers being called out of a meeting, that something had happened at home. “Scene was like nothing I had seen before.”
  • Christopher’s mother says he didn’t have many “episodes” with the illness, they would last about a day.
  • Christopher was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 19, mother says his “lively personality became flat,” but he had a great support system
  • Renetta says Christopher’s Schizophrenia diagnosis “strengthened family’s relationship,” family very important to Chris.
  • Within minutes of taking the stand, Christopher’s mother, Renetta, says “some testimonies just too hard to listen to.”
  • Steve Torres leaves the stand in tears, hugging family and friends. We’re in a 5-10 min recess. Christopher’s mother is expected up next.
  • An emotional Steve Torres is trying to fight back tears, more tears from family present here in the courtroom.
  • Steve Torres says “no one has ever apologized to me.” He was committed to staying at the house, it was “our house” despite what happened.
  • Steve Torres called nearby hospitals asking about Chris, no one had anyone admitted by that name. 2 hours later found out Chris was dead.
  • Steve Torres says police “stormed the house, used flashbang grenades and tore down front door.”
  • Steve Torres says he was tipped by neighbor about police presence, “there were police cars and officers everywhere.”
  • Steve Torres, Christopher’s father, is now on the stand.
  • Family friend: “I loved Christopher. He was such a sweet young man.”
  • A quick testimony from Rev. Gutierrez, no questions from defense. Another family friend is now on the stand, gave Chris a job at his shop.
  • Rev. Gutierrez says family “was destroyed” after Christopher’s death
  • Rev. Gutierrez “Christopher was a kind person, quiet” and talked a lot about family and faith
  • Day four of the Torres case is underway – Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, a friend of the family, takes the stand

Christopher Torres Civil Case, Day 3

March 12th, 2014 at 11:02 am by under Latest Posts, Live Events

The civil trial continues in the Christopher Torres case. Torres was shot and killed by APD officers at the family home in Taylor Ranch in April of 2011.

KRQE reporters @krqecole and @TinaJensenKRQE have live updates (most recent updates are displayed first):

  • APD investigator reads title of report: “Aggravated Battery on an Officer.” Atty: “That was the offense? Not homicide?” “Correct.”
  • PD investigator of shooting testifies 2 officers had same lawyer, can’t confirm or deny they coordinated stories before interview
  • DNA expert from LA called by Torres family attorneys. Says APD’s DNA investigator didn’t test trigger or safety of pistol…
  • George Schiro, a DNA expert, is now on the witness stand
  • Defense questioning scrapes, cuts on Torres’ body, argues they could have come from scuffle with officers
  • Defense now cross-examining Dr. Zumwalt
  • Dr. Zumwalt says the bullet that hit the upper back went through right pulmonary artery, could’ve been fatal in “seconds to minutes”
  • Dr. Zumwalt says barrel of gun pressed against Torres’ body when fired
  • Dr. Zumwalt says two bullets hit Torres in the lower, right side of his back. A third bullet hit Torres’ upper back.
  • Dr. Zumwalt – “defensive wounds on Torres’ hands” consistent with protecting himself
  • Both sides gearing up for more testimony this afternoon…Dr. Ross Zumwalt, Chief Medical Investigator with OMI led to witness stand
  • Torres civil case breaks for lunch, expecting at least two more witnesses this afternoon
  • Dr. McDonald is off the stand a few minutes before lunch, next 15 minutes will be used to show former APD Chief Schultz deposition
  • Dr. McDonald “research based on statistical, anonymous life”
  • Dr. McDonald “studies show average life valued at $5-6 million,” adding that can range, though
  • Dr. McDonald on determining value of a life – “more value than how much we earn”
  • Dr. McDonald “Torres earned $1,924/year…if worked 27 more years, would’ve earned $50,508″
  • Dr. Brian McDonald, an expert, economist, has taken the stand in Torres civil case
  • Det. Lopez “Torres seemed to be in good hands,” was seeing psychiatrist, didn’t have lengthy criminal history, no need for hazard aler
  • Det. Lopez said CIT officers can be dispatched to help officers serving warrants, can offer their expertise in dealing with mentally ill
  • During his testimony, Lopez said CIT officers learn to handle/communicate with the mentally ill more than a standard officer
  • Judge Bacon hoping to catch up today, move a little quicker
  • Day 3 in Christopher Torres trial continues with Det. Xavier Lopez on the stand, a now retired APD officer with crisis intervention training

Christopher Torres Civil Case, Day 2

March 11th, 2014 at 2:11 pm by under Latest Posts, Live Events

The civil trial continues in the Christopher Torres case. Torres was shot and killed by APD officers at the family home in Taylor Ranch in April of 2011.

KRQE reporters @ChrisMcKeeTV and @TinaJensenKRQE have live updates (most recent updates are displayed first):

  • City atty asks Psychiatrist about Torres use of Spice…questions if it would “destabilize” him.
  • Torres psychiatrist says many treated for schizophrenia can go on to live healthy lives. Cites Nash from “Beautiful Mind” as example.
  • Expert witness on gun finishes testimony. Psychiatrist treating Torres takes stand.
  • Scott says the area where Christopher Torres struggled w/ officers was extremely small, finds the story “troubling.”
  • Expert witness testifies officer’s gun in pristine condition and that no fingerprints belonging to Torres were documented in findings.
  • Scott reviewed forensic investigation of Hilger’s gun– says report had no conclusion of fingerprints found on it or evidence it was handled
  • Scott: if there was a struggle, he would have expected to see damage on handle area of gun– says it’s in pristine condition.
  • Scott: markings/damage on nose of Hilger’s gun are not consistent w/ story that Torres grabbed gun, hit it in rocks during fight w/ ofcrs.
  • Scott now testifying to where Torres’ was positioned when he was shot. Torres attorneys trying to prove he was laying down on stomach.
  • Some family members leave room as expert witness talks about where Christopher Torres’ head was when he was shot.
  • Torres attorneys now asking expert Scott what his opinion is of evidence gathered in Torres homicide.
  • Scott: you want to gather as much evidence as possible immediately after a homicide / officer involved shooting
  • Scott is official an expert on “officer involved homicides.”
  • Torres attorneys call witness Ron Scott to the stand. Sounds like he’ll offer expert analysis on elements of the shooting / investigation.
  • Day 2 of Torres trial continues. Neighbor/eyewitness done testifying. Break so court can determine tech problems. Expert witness next.
  • Neighbor to Torres / witness to shooting, Christie Apodaca has left the stand. Next witness being called…
  • Defense attorney Ann Maggoire criticizing Apodaca, over six different statements on event— did she see officer draw a gun or not?
  • Apodaca witnessed officers Brown & Hilger fighting with Torres. City is trying to draw attention to her statement to police vs. her notes
  • The Christopher Torres wrongful death trial has just resumed. Attorneys for the city of ABQ cross examining witness Christie Apodaca
  • Defense attorney Ann Maggoire criticizing Apodaca, over six different statements on event— did she see officer draw a gun or not?


Christopher Torres Civil Case, Day 1

March 10th, 2014 at 11:47 am by under Latest Posts, Live Events

The civil trial began Monday in the Christopher Torres case. Torres was shot and killed by APD officers at the family home in Taylor Ranch in April of 2011.

KRQE reporter @ChrisMcKeeTV has live updates (most recent updates are displayed first):

  • Court back in session. Dr. Pete DiVasto now on the stand, former APD psychologist who mentally screened officer candidates for hire.
  • Defense has finished cross examination of Tate. Redirect was a couple questions. Court in recess now for lunch hour.
  • Defense appears to be trying to prove that Ofcr. Brown’s hiring was correct, within state and department rules and standards
  • Defense: looking at citizen complaints against Ofcr. Brown, is that a “red flag” – Tate says “no” he’s just want “more information”
  • Defense questioning about who’s roll it is to report problems w/ officer conduct to state LEA board: corresponding agency.
  • Defense arguing if someone were a state certified officer, they would have passed necessary tests, training, background investigations.
  • Torres attorneys have finished questioning of Tate. Defense– city’s attorneys– now cross examining Tate. First time speaking today.
  • Tate: concerned about hiring because it seemed the department was choosing “marginal” candidates.
  • Tate: there was “a cloud that hung over everything, numbers, numbers, numbers” about APD’s hiring practices when Schultz took over.
  • Tate: lateral transfers (prior experiences ofcrs) don’t have to go through APD academy, psych exams. Voiced complaints about related issues
  • Tate: “in some cases” hiring board had to fight to keep officers from being hired rather than fighting to actually hire them.
  • Tate: “in my opinion, yes” to idea that under Chief Schultz leadership, hiring of officers became more about quantity than quality
  • Defense objecting to submitting those RPD complaints as evidence. Objection granted by judge on ground that no proof documents are real.
  • Torres attorneys say they’re trying to prove the point that Brown was not properly background checked before he was hired.
  • Torres fam attorneys contrasting what APD hiring bg investigators should know against all complaints Brown got in his prior work at RPD
  • Torres attorneys now asking Tate about what bg searchers should look at before hiring someone.
  • Former Lt. Tate was on APD’s Chief selection board aka board that helped hire officers at his time.
  • Torres attorneys now bringing up citizen complaints made about Ofcr. Brown while he worked at Roswell PD.
  • Lt. Steve Tate: left APD b/c of concerns of direction dept. was heading in terms of changes to training. Says he still cares about dept.
  • Looks like I was incorrect about defense opening statements. Torres families first witness called to stand: frmr. APD Lt. Steve Tate.
  • Attorney who gave those prior quotes is Randi McGinn, representing the Torres family.
  • Opening statements for Torres family now over, court recessing for 15, then defense’s opening statements begin.
  • Torres family attorney: “This could have happened to any one of us in our backyard”
  • Torres fam attorney: “This wasn’t caused by schizophrenia” “It was caused by these police officers”
  • Attorneys on Torres’ death: “This is a tragedy of our society.”
  • Attorneys claiming Torres was high functioning w/ schizophrenia, was getting a handle on disease and was going to be successful.
  • Attorney claims autopsy shows 3rd and final shot, which came after a pause, was the shot that killed Torres. Now playing neighbor’s 911 call
  • Opening statements for Torres family continue. Attorney now running through every single event that lead up to shooting.
  • Torres civil trial: No jury. Packed courtroom today. Would be standing room only but Judge Bacon is only allowing people w/ seats in crtrm
  • Torres family attorney also says Ofc. Brown admitted to having a lack of training dealing with people with mental illness.
  • Torres fam attorney blames now former APD Chief Schultz, former mayor Marty Chavez for lowering hiring standards. Say that’s when this began
  • Torres family attorneys now focusing on one officer involved, C.J. Brown. Saying APD was negligent in hiring him due to his history.
  • Torres was shot to death in his backyard by 2 APD officers in 2011. Torres, who had schizophrenia, struggled w/ officers who went to arrest
  • Wrongful death civil trial in APD shooting of Christopher Torres begins today. Torres’ attorneys are now giving opening statements.

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Go

March 7th, 2014 at 7:30 am by under 5 Things

Time for the five things you need to know before you go this morning.

5. Don’t forget to spring forward this weekend. The time changes early Sunday morning and we lose an hour of sleep, but gain an hour of daylight. If you struggle to adjust to the time change, check your phone because there are apps for that. It’s also a good idea to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

4. If you use Netflix, pay attention to this. There’s a big scam going around when you log-on you get a screen that looks like this that tells you to call customer service. Then someone tells you to download some software that ends up stealing your personal information.

3. A lot of folks in Albuquerque are on edge this morning, after some homemade explosives have gone off in their neighborhood Paseo del Norte and Universe northwest. Police aren’t saying a whole lot about the explosives.

2. Folks near Carlsbad still have a lot of questions about the radiation leak at WIPP and they could get more answers with another town hall meeting tonight. This one is with congress man Steve Pearce. It’s at 4 p.m. at the Leo Sweet Center in Carlsbad.

1. Today you can expect partly sunny skies with a high near 65. There will be a slight chance of showers with southwest wind from 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain is 10 percent. For tonight, you can expect a slight chance of rain and snow showers are possible. It’ll be mostly cloudy with a low around 37 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.