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Jose Torres convicted of murder at retrial

Sentencing scheduled for Jan. 10

Jose Torres

Jose Torres

Jose Torres was convicted of second-degree murder Friday in the death of Miguel Cruz on July 4, 2001.

A state Supreme Court jury deliberated for a total of about four hours before reaching a verdict about noon, said Assistant Monroe County District Attorney Michael J. Bezer.

Justice Francis A. Affronti scheduled sentencing for Jan. 10.

Torres was already convicted of the same crime in 2002 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was granted a new trial by Affronti after another man, Angel Carrasquillo, claimed he fatally shot Cruz.

Carrasquillo did not testify at Torres’ trial. On Monday, the day before he was supposed to take the stand, he was indicted and arraigned on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Cruz.

Carrasquillo invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid incriminating himself and refused to testify.

Bezer said Carrasquillo was an accomplice in the crime.

“We do believe that he was there and he was armed and masked,” Bezer said.

Carrasquillo, who is serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder, with no chance of parole, is due back in court for preliminary motions on Jan. 17.

Cruz was shot about 2 a.m. on Hollister Street while hanging outside with some friends. The killer ran up to him, fired four shots and then ran away, prosecutors say.

Torres confessed to killing Cruz, but later claimed he was tricked into signing the statement. He also showed police the spot in the Genesee River where he allegedly threw the gun he used and some unused bullets.

Some bullets were found by police scuba divers, but the gun was not recovered. Carrasquillo said he shot Cruz because Cruz stole drugs and money from him.

Torres’ attorney, David Abbatoy, could not be immediately reached for comment.