After decades in prison, the California man is innocent of the murder

LOS ANGELES – A California man who served 21 years in prison for a gang murder he allegedly did not commit has been found factually innocent by a judge, authorities announced on Wednesday.

Alexander Torres appeared at a press conference with Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón and members of the California Innocence Project, who were campaigning for his exoneration.

“Torres was so young when he was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. He deserves a chance to really live his life,” said attorney Audrey McGinn of the California Innocence Project. “I’m so excited to see Alex reunited with his family and loved ones.”

Torres was a 20-year-old member of a Compton Street gang when he was accused of jumping out of a car and shooting dead a rival gang member, Martin Guitron, in the Paramount suburb on December 31, 2000.

Guitron was shot eight times with a handgun.

Torres was arrested on January 18, 2001. He told investigators he had confrontations with Guitron, including a fight after his mother’s car was destroyed, but he did not leave his home on the night of the murder, court documents said.


Relatives testified that Torres injured his hand in a fight with Guitron a few weeks earlier. At the time of the shooting, he had a broken finger and his arm was in a cast that went from the elbow almost to the tips of his fingers.

Torres was convicted of second-degree murder on June 12, 2001 with allegations that he personally used a gun during the crime. He was sentenced to 40 years of life in state prison.

In 2006, however, a private investigator hired by Torres’ brother questioned the getaway car driver, who, according to a court filing, said Torres was not at the scene and that another man committed the murder.

That person closely resembled Torres physically, prosecutors said.

Last October, Torres was released from prison after a judge vacated his conviction at the request of Torres and the prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which cited “newly discovered evidence” that someone else had committed the murder.


That person, identified only as Person 2 in court filings, is serving a jail term for a series of armed robberies committed after the shooting, prosecutors said.

In April, the district attorney’s office and the Innocence Project asked a judge to find “factual innocence” in the case, jointly arguing that “there is not a single reliable or credible evidence that Torres committed the crime” and that, factually shows “a preponderance of evidence” that he is innocent. The request was granted.

Prosecutors said they were investigating to gather enough evidence to charge the real shooter.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. After decades in prison, the California man is innocent of the murder

Sarah Y. Kim

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