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Attorney: Miguel Torres can't receive fair and impartial trial in Berks County

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 03 2014 12:36:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 03 2014 05:13:43 PM CDT

Miguel Torres, once one of America's most-wanted fugitives, can't receive a fair and impartial trial in Berks County, the defendant's attorney told a judge Tuesday.

READING, Pa. -

Miguel Torres, once one of America's most-wanted fugitives, can't receive a fair and impartial trial in Berks County, the defendant's attorney told a judge Tuesday.

Defense attorney Robert Kirwan argued in court that, due to the overwhelming amount of media coverage his client's case has received, Judge John Boccabella should grant a motion Kirwan filed in April for either a change of venue or a change of venire.

A change of venue would move the trial outside of Berks County; a change of venire would bring an out-of-county jury to Berks for the trial.

Boccabella has until the end of June to decide whether to grant Kirwan's motion or defer.

If he chooses to defer, Boccabella will then wait until jury selection has begun to determine whether a fair and impartial panel can be selected in Berks County.

Torres, formerly of Exeter Township, was captured in Italy on March 15, 2013, and extradited to the United States last November to face charges in the deadly shooting of his estranged wife, Barbara Torres, in downtown Reading on Sept. 12, 2005.

Barbara Torres filed for divorce from her husband just weeks before she was killed, according to court documents.

Torres fled the scene of the killing in his car and then, a few blocks away, switched to a rented van, which was recovered a year later at LaGuardia Airport in New York, authorities said.

The worldwide manhunt for Torres was the subject of numerous stories on 69-WFMZ-TV over the years and was featured on TV's "America's Most Wanted." He was added to the U.S. Marshal's list of 15 most wanted in June 2011.

Prosecutors gave up the option to seek the death penalty for Torres in exchange for his extradition from Italy to the United States.