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Thread: Marco Enrique Torres, Jr. - Nebraska Death Row

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    Marco Enrique Torres, Jr. - Nebraska Death Row




    Facts of the Crime:

    Torres, of Pasadena, Texas, was convicted on August 28, 2009 by a Hall County District Court jury of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of using a gun to commit a felony, one count of robbery and one count of unauthorized use of a debit card for the March 2007 deaths of Edward Hall, 60, and Timothy Donohue, 48.

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    January 29, 2010

    Texas man sentenced to death for 2 Neb. murders

    GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - A Texas man has been sentenced to death for killing two Nebraska men.

    A three-judge panel announced Marco Torres Jr.'s sentence on Friday.

    Torres was convicted in August on seven counts by a Hall County jury. Among them were two counts of first-degree murder for the 2007 shooting deaths of 2 Grand Island men, 48-year-old Timothy Donohue and 60-year-old Edward Hall.

    Torres, of Pasadena, Texas, waived his right for a jury to determine whether he's eligible for the death penalty.

    Prosecutors successfully argued Torres should be executed because he committed the murders to conceal a robbery and because 1 of the victims was bound and gagged before death. Those are considered aggravating factors in state law.

    http://www.newschannel10.com/global/...asp?s=11904221

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    Inmate Personal Information

    Race: Hispanic
    Gender: Male
    Date of Birth: 03/21/1975

    Crime and Trial Information

    * County of conviction: Hall
    * Number of counts: Two
    * Race of Victims:
    * Gender of Victims: Male/Male
    * Date of crime: March 2007
    * Date of Sentencing: 01/29/2010

    Legal Status

    Current Proceedings:
    Direct Appeal

    Attorney

    At trial:
    Kirk Naylor

    Court Opinions

    None

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    Texas man on Neb. death row appeals to high court

    LINCOLN, Neb. A Texas man on Nebraska's death row for killing two men has appealed his case to the state Supreme Court.

    Marco Torres Jr., formerly of Pasadena, Texas, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in the 2007 shooting deaths of two Grand Island men, 48-year-old Timothy Donohue and 60-year-old Edward Hall.

    Prosecutors said Torres fled to Texas after the shootings and burned Hall's car in a remote area. He was arrested in Houston.

    Torres is asking the high court to throw out his conviction because some evidence shouldn't have been allowed, and his objection to the sentencing process shouldn't have resulted in a death sentence, among other things. Arguments will be heard March 2.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/7436805.html

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    Torres' murder case argued before Nebraska Supreme Court

    By Sarah Schulz
    The Independent

    The case of convicted double murderer Marco E. Torres Jr. was argued before the Nebraska Supreme Court this morning.

    Torres, 35, of Pasadena, Texas, was convicted by a Hall County jury on Aug. 28, 2009, of killing Timothy Donohue, 48, and Edward Hall, 60, in March 2007 at Hall's home, 1208 S. Adams St.

    He was sentenced in January 2010 by a three-judge panel to death on each count of first-degree murder, to 50 years each for robbery and three counts of using a gun to commit a felony and to 20 months to five years in prison for the unauthorized use of a debit card.

    Torres' court-appointed attorney, Kirk Naylor, argued today that the trial court erred in admitting evidence relating to Torres' conviction for kidnapping, robbery and two counts of using a gun to commit a felony for an incident that occurred in mid-February 2007 at Hall's home. The victim in that case was William "Billy" Packer.

    Naylor argued that the evidence was prejudicial against his client and should have been considered inadmissible under prior bad acts. The evidence was allowed, over Naylor's objection, during the trial for the purpose of showing motive, intent and opportunity. However, Naylor said the state provided other evidence from witnesses to serve that same purpose.

    He further argued that, other than the location of the two crimes, he didn't see them as part of the same incident.

    "The jury didn't need the grisly details of the kidnapping and robbery to establish that the appellant had been at Hall's house prior to the homicides," Naylor said.

    In addition, Naylor argued that the use of a trial transcript by the members of the three-judge panel, two of whom didn't hear direct testimony or evidence, robbed his client of his due-process rights. The information was used to determine the aggravating circumstances for the death penalty.

    A notice of aggravation was filed with the charges against Torres. Those aggravators were that the murder was committed in an effort to conceal the commission of a crime or to conceal the identity of the perpetrator; more than one murder was committed at the same time; the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; and the offender had a substantial prior history of assaultive or terrorizing criminal activity.

    The panel determined that Torres was previously convicted of kidnapping and robbery; Hall was bound and gagged before he was shot, causing him to suffer mentally; the men were killed to conceal Torres' identity; and both men were killed at approximately the same time.

    Naylor said the panel's finding that Hall suffered mentally shouldn't have been considered as an aggravator. He cited the court's decision in a previous murder case where mental anguish wasn't used as a basis for an aggravating circumstance.

    Kirk Brown, an attorney with the Nebraska attorney general's office, argued on behalf of the state.

    He began by saying Torres had bragged about the murders to another inmate and had twice tried to plant false alibis with other people. He also tortured Hall by binding and gagging him to the point of causing suffocation. Even without the aggravating circumstance involving mental suffering, there were other aggravating circumstances that would have led to the death sentence in this case, he said.

    Brown said Torres waived his right to have a jury for the sentencing phase. By statute, that left the sentencing to a three-judge panel and the trial transcript.

    "He can't waive a jury, then claim he was denied due process," Brown said. "If he wanted what he claimed he wanted, he could have had it."

    In response to Naylor's argument that two of the three judges on the panel weren't able to view witnesses and determine their credibility, Brown said the transcript included the cross-examination of witnesses and impeachment evidence.

    He also added that the evidence concerning the Packer case admitted in the murder trial came with cautionary warnings to the jury as to its use. There was evidence from other witnesses about the same case but, Brown argued, that didn't necessarily reduce the need for other evidence, particularly when one of the state's witnesses was a drug dealer and drug user.

    The Supreme Court justices will take the case under advisement and make a ruling in the future.

    http://www.theindependent.com/articl...l/13050973.txt

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    Nebraska v Marco Torres

    Nebraska court rejects Texan's death case appeal

    The Nebraska Supreme Court has rejected appeals filed by a Texas man on Nebraska's death row for killing two men in 2007.

    Marco Torres Jr., formerly of Pasadena, Texas, was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges for shooting to death two Grand Island residents, 48-year-old Timothy Donohue and 60-year-old Edward Hall.

    Torres says some evidence shouldn't have been allowed at his trial and that the sentencing process shouldn't have resulted in a death sentence.

    The high court says in a split decision released Friday that jury instructions about some evidence amounted to harmless errors.

    The court acknowledged the sentencing panel should not have considered mental suffering by one of Torres' victims. But the court said that didn't affect the overall determination that aggravating circumstances existed for the death penalty.

    http://www.chadrad.com/newsstory.cfm?story=23661

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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Torres' petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    Texas man files for post-conviction relief in Neb

    A Texas man on Nebraska's death row for killing two Grand Island men has filed for post-conviction relief, saying his lawyers were ineffective.

    The Grand Island Independent reports (http://bit.ly/19wCAHj) that Marco Torres Jr., formerly of Pasadena, Texas, has filed the motion in Hall County District Court and asked for a court-appointed attorney.

    Torres was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in the 2007 shooting deaths of 48-year-old Timothy Donohue and 60-year-old Edward Hall.

    Post-conviction relief motions are filed after all other appeals have been exhausted. Last year, the Nebraska Supreme Court rejected Torres' appeal, in which he claimed some evidence should not have been allowed.

    In his latest motion, Torres says his lawyers' were so inept that it violated his right to a fair trial.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/art...#ixzz2UzNgIpe8
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    Supreme Court rejects death-row inmate's claim that prosecutors withheld or destroyed evidence

    LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court has rejected the claims of a death-row inmate who says prosecutors withheld or destroyed evidence he thinks could have proved his innocence of a 2007 double murder in Grand Island.

    Marco Torres Jr. also claimed in his motion for post-conviction relief that he received an inadequate public defense during his jury trial and subsequent appeals.

    The Supreme Court said in a unanimous opinion Friday that all of Torres’ claims are without merit

    Among the evidence presented by prosecutors was surveillance video of Torres using Hall’s ATM card at about the time of the murders and the discovery of Hall’s burned-out station wagon in Texas, where Torres had driven it.

    Torres also could not be excluded from DNA recovered from a cloth sash used to gag Hall, an extension cord used to bind him and cigarette butts found in Donohue’s room. Donohue was staying at Hall’s residence.

    The convictions and death sentence previously have been upheld by the court.

    Torres argued that the prosecution withheld or destroyed evidence that may have shown Hall and Donohue were present at a soup kitchen later than the time of death as determined by the state’s pathologist. The evidence included sign-in sheets and video surveillance at the Salvation Army kitchen.

    He also said the prosecutor released the murder scene to Hall’s relatives before his lawyers could examine it. The house later was burned down in a fire department training exercise because it was ruled uninhabitable.

    The judge also said whether or not the house was being used to manufacture meth was irrelevant. There was no dispute that illegal drugs were being sold out of the house.

    Case records also show that both the Salvation Army video and sign-in sheets were turned over to Torres’ lawyer prior to trial. In a deposition, the defendant’s first lawyer thought he saw the video, but couldn’t say for sure. Torres’ second attorney had no recollection of the video.

    As for the sign-in sheets, the defense employed a handwriting expert who could not conclude if the “Ed” on the sheet was the signature of Ed Hall.

    http://www.omaha.com/news/crime/supr...6c8ef66e6.html
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    On June 22, 2017, Torres filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    https://dockets.justia.com/docket/ne...7cv03078/76473

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