By WARREN DILLAWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org
A city man is being held on $500,000 cash bond following his arraignment on two murder charges Tuesday in Municipal Court.
Gilberto Torres, 32, of 5012 Kain Ave., has been charged with two counts of murder after authorities found him in his Kain Avenue home with the bodies of two dead women early Monday morning.
Torres is charged with the killing of his ex-wife, Amparo “Patty” Torres, 40, and her daughter Hilda Delores Garcia Rodriquez, 20.
Security was tight Tuesday morning in the courtroom of Municipal Court Judge Albert Camplese as about 10 friends and family members of the victims sat in the back of the courtroom listening to the proceedings.
Prior to entering the courtroom all visitors were swiped with a metal detector to insure no weapons were brought into the courtroom.
One woman dabbed her eyes as the proceedings neared an end and an Ashtabula County Victims’ of Crime Assistance Director Cynthia VanAllen gathered the victims’ friends and family in a side room to discuss how her office may be of help.
She also shielded the victims’ families from the media, prior to the hearing, and told them they could comment later if they wished.
Camplese told Torres he was charged with two counts of murder and asked if he understood the charges. Torres said he did understand the charges and was able to understand English.
“Yes sir,” Torres said in response to the judge’s question.
Torres faces 15 years to life on each of the two charges and fines of up to $15,000 on each charge.
Camplese entered “no pleas” on the two charges and asked that a preliminary hearing be set in about 10 days. He also said an attorney from the Ashtabula County Public Defenders Office will be appointed to represent Torres.
Ashtabula City Solicitor Michael Franklin said there was ample evidence of the crime and said Torres would be a danger to the community. He asked for $250,000 cash bond on each count of murder.
Camplese agreed with Franklin’s request. “I will accept the state’s recommendation,” he said.