Jose Torres is serving a 25 to life sentence in Attica Correctional Facility for a 2002 murder conviction. Torres has always maintained his innocence. Hired by the Torres family to litigate a potential legal challenge to that conviction, Nave DWI Defense Attorneys attorney Matthew Hagen conducted his own independent 18-month investigation into the underlying facts of the case. That investigation unearthed a significant amount of evidence which Hagen hopes will exonerate his client of any wrongdoing. Hagen is a former Special Agent for the Department of Defense, so when Torres’ family approached him seeking help, his natural instincts kicked in. The results of his investigation are included in a motion pending before the New York State Supreme Court, which seeks to vacate Torres’ original conviction based on newly found evidence of his actual innocence.
On July 4th 2001, a masked man walked up to Miguel Cruz who was standing outside of his home socializing with four of his friends. The gunman fired four shots killing Cruz instantly. That masked man then fled the scene. The facts, at first glance, supported Torres’ arrest and subsequent conviction. Following his arrest, witnesses came forward claiming that Torres had confessed to the crime while he was in a highly intoxicated condition.
The police obtained a written confession from Torres, which served as a major piece of evidence at his trial. However, Hagen’s investigation raises serious questions and concerns regarding the circumstances under which that confession was obtained. Hagen’s investigation also revealed the name of an individual who had also confessed to the killing. His name is Angel Carrasquillo and he is currently serving a 125-year sentence for unrelated convictions of Murder, Attempted Murder and Robbery. That sentence is the second longest prison term ever handed down in the history of Monroe County.
Hagen tracked down Carrasquillo, who by coincidence also just began serving time at Attica Correctional Facility, albeit in a different cell block than Torres. Hagen confronted Carrasquillo with the results of his investigation. After several hours Carrasquillo orally confessed to the crime. After Carrasquillo had time to speak to his family about what he had done, Hagen returned several weeks later and obtained a written confession from Carrasquillo. Several weeks after Carrasquillo’s statement was memorialized in written form, he was transferred to Torres’ cell block. The two had a chance to meet for the first time, where they formed an unlikely bond based on these peculiar circumstances. Torres expresses no ill will towards Carrasquillo for what he did. Instead Torres finds fault with the mishandling of the original investigation by authorities.
Hagen managed to track down two independent eye witnesses who were able to confirm Carrasquillo’s version of events. Elliot Velez, who grew up in the same neighborhood and knew Carrasquillo his whole life, said that he saw Carrasquillo running from the crime scene, gun in hand, as he pulled off his mask. In addition, Hagen located a witness named Steven Rivera who corroborates Velez’s account of Carrasquillo running away from the crime scene that evening. Rivera also happens to be Carrasquillo’s first cousin. Carrasquillo, Velez and Rivera were all incarcerated in three separate New York State Correctional facilities at the time they gave their statements to Hagen. Hagen also provided no notice to the inmates that he would be coming to visit them. These facts help to shoot down conspiracy theories about Carrasquillo taking the fall for the Cruz murder so that Torres can go home.
The matter is now before the Supreme Court for review. Nave DWI Defense Attorneys attorney Matthew Hagen has presented his finding to the authorities and to the Court. Hagen is confident that the fruits of his investigation will reveal the truth, which will exonerate his client and finally bring him home.
The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.