A motion hearing was held Tuesday afternoon in 4th Judicial District Court for a Sheridan County teenager charged with murder. Sheridan Media’s Ron Richter has the details.
The majority of the hearing focused on the motion to transfer the defendant, 15-year-old Christian Torres, to a juvenile detention facility. Torres, who has been charged with first degree murder for allegedly killing his father, 47-year-old Edgar “Eddie” Jones at a home in Dayton on July 27, 2021, is currently being held at the Sheridan County Detention Center awaiting trial. 9th Judicial District Court Judge Melissa Owens presided over the hearing, as she’s been appointed as the trial judge in the case due to a conflict of interest involving 4th Judicial District Court Judge Darci Phillips. The defense, which includes attorneys Jonathan Foreman and Anna Malmberg, argued that their client is being exposed to things in jail that a 15-year-old shouldn’t be exposed to.
The defense played two videos of Torres in the detention center in an effort to show the court the kinds of things their client is being subjected to while incarcerated with adults. One of the videos was sexually graphic in nature and the other video showed two inmates engaging in a confrontation in front of Torres. Foreman, during his closing argument, said that Torres has been sexually propositioned by inmates and is having physical contact with adult inmates, which he said is in violation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, or PREA.
Sheridan County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Christopher LaRosa argued that it was the State’s position that the Court did not have the authority to grant the defendant’s motion to transfer to juvenile detention and that the argument from the defense in relation to PREA violations was a public shaming event against Sheridan County Sheriff Allen Thompson. Judge Owens said from what she’s seen in the video, she will take the time she needs to find out if the Court has the authority to transfer an inmate and that she was very surprised by the Sheriff’s decision to house the defendant in jail. Judge Owens said she would take the defendant’s motion under advisement and issue a ruling on the matter shortly. First degree murder is punishable by life imprisonment if the individual convicted of the crime was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.