The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 11, 2012

Preliminary hearing set for man charged in double homicide

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — A preliminary hearing has been set for next week for a Kain Avenue man accused of killing his ex-wife and step-daughter.

Gilberto Torres, 32, of 5012 Kain Ave., faces two counts of murder after police found him in the home early Monday with the dead bodies of Amparo “Patty” Torres, 40, and her daughter, Hilda Garcia Rodriguez, 20, according to Municipal Court records.

The initial autopsy report showed the women died Friday morning, according to Richard Mongell, chief investigator for the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office.

Gilberto Torres is scheduled to be back in court at 3 p.m. Wednesday for a preliminary hearing, court officials said.

A preliminary hearing is a hearing to determine if a person charged with a felony should be tried for the crime charged, based on whether there is some substantial evidence that he committed the crime.

According to the initial autopsy, Torres died from a gunshot wound to the head, and her daughter was smothered to death.

If found guilty, Torres could be sentenced to 15 year to life on each of the two murder charges and fined up to a total of $30,000.

An attorney from the public defenders office will be appointed to represent him in the case.

During Tuesday’s arraignment, City Solicitor Michael Franklin said Torres is dangerous and asked Judge Albert Camplese to set a $500,000 cash bond.

The judge complied.

Torres remains in the city jail.

According to Municipal Court and Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court records, Torres has a long criminal history, including drug trafficking.

He also was charged with domestic violence, but the charge was later dismissed, according to court records.

This past summer, he set his garage on fire and was charged with arson, police said.

Neighbors said the police were often called to the home.