News and Press Releases

Former Corporal Sentenced to Death in Barracks Murder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jorge Avila Torrez, 25, of Zion, Illinois, was sentenced to death today by a federal jury for the premeditated murder on July 11, 2009 of Amanda Jean Snell, 20, in her room at Keith Hall, an enlisted barracks aboard Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va.

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady continued sentencing until May 30, 2014, to give Torrez an opportunity to file any post-trial motions.

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Rocco Pierri, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) Washington Field Office; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by Judge O’Grady.

Torrez was indicted on May 26, 2011, by a federal grand jury for the premeditated murder of Snell, who was serving as a Petty Officer Second Class for the U.S. Navy.  According to court records and evidence at trial, at the time he murdered Snell, Torrez was a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and lived in a room on the same deck as Snell’s, eight doors away.  Torrez later told a prisoner with whom he was detained in the Arlington County Detention Center that he entered Snell’s room through her unlocked door, jumped on her as she slept in her bed, bound her wrists with the power cord from her laptop computer and strangled her with the rest of the cord.  Torrez stated that he then dragged Snell’s body from the bed to a wall locker, in which he hid her remains.  Snell was discovered there by her Navy supervisor on Monday morning, July 13, 2009, when she failed to report for duty at 11:00 p.m. on the previous Sunday night at the Pentagon.

On April 8, 2014, following a six-day trial, a jury convicted Torrez of the premeditated murder of Snell.  That same jury began hearing evidence on April 21, 2014, to determine whether he should receive the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.  Besides evidence relating to Snell’s murder, the jury considered evidence related to Torrez’s prior convictions for having abducted three young women in Arlington, Va. in February 2010, one of whom he raped, sodomized, strangled and left for dead, for which he is currently serving five life sentences in Red Onion State Prison.

This case was investigated by NCIS and the Arlington County Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael E. Rich, Jonathan L. Fahey, James L. Trump and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Heberle are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

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