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DA won't file charges against MMA fighter alleged to have killed home invader

By Staff Report
Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:23:27 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 25 2014 12:25:27 PM CDT

KVIA File Photo

Third Judicial District Attorney Mark D'Antonio

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

The Third Judicial District Attorney's Office has decided not to file charges against Joseph Torrez, a mixed martial artist who deputies say killed a man suspected of breaking into his home.

In a statement, the Third Judicial District Attorney's Office said it agrees with the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office that after a thorough investigation, that included several interviews and police field investigations, finger print, DNA and blood type analysis, and a complete autopsy report, the evidence does not exist to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Torrez killed Sal Garces without legal justification.

Officials with the DA's Office said that the factual details of the case cannot be discussed at this time because five people face charges of Aggravated Burglary, Conspiracy, and Aggravated Battery are pending trial in a related case.

District Attorney Mark D'Antonio said, "The decision not to charge Mr. Torrez is based on the facts and the forensic evidence presented by DASO. In particular, it was the scientific evidence that led to that conclusion."

In late June, the ABC-7 New Mexico Mobile Newsroom  got ahold of the autopsy report for Garces.
     
Garces' mother, Cynthia Garces, says the homeowner did not kill her son in self defense and she thinks the autopsy report shows her son was murdered.

"He didn't deserve to die like that, nobody deserves to die like that," Garces said.

According to autopsy results, Garces died of multiple stab wounds to the head, neck, heart and left arm, and indicate he could have been stabbed by multiple people.

"i thought there was a justice system, why is it failing me, that's what i want to know," Garces said in June.

Last month, Doña Ana County Sheriff's investigators obtained two additional warrants in the ongoing investigation of a New Year's Day home invasion that left one man dead.           

The warrants sought the arrest of Cylver Pearl Betancourt, 18, and Rachel Carrillo, 19, on charges of aggravated burglary (battery), and one count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.

Dona Ana Couty Sheriff's officials say they believe both women accompanied four men who arrived at the home of Joseph Torrez in the 600 block of King James Road shortly after 2 a.m. on New Year's Day.

Sheriff's officials say the group had allegedly gone to the residence to settle an argument that had taken place hours earlier at another location.

The four men have been identified as Sal Garces, 25, Leonard Calvillo, 22, Raymond Garces, 19, and Nathan Avalos, 20.

According to court documents, the group reportedly forced their way into the home and started a fight with Torrez who lived there with his fiancée and young son.

When Doña Ana County Sheriff's deputies arrived, they found Sal Garces in the street. He was reportedly suffering from blunt force trauma and stab wounds.

Garces was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Raymond Garces and Leonard Calvillo were located several hours later. Both men have been arrested on charges related to the incident and remain at the Doña Ana County Detention Center.

Avalos was transported to an El Paso-area hospital where he was treated and released. A warrant for his arrest was issued and he was subsequently arrested that evening.

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