A judge set aside three days this week to hear new evidence in the 2001 murder of Miguel Cruz.
 
Jose Torres was convicted of the Hollister St. shooting in 2002 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He claims he was drunk when he was arrested and has no recollection of his confession to police. Torres has always maintained his innocence.
 
Two years ago, Torres’ family hired a lawyer who took a fresh look at his case. Matt Hagen found a witness who identified a different man, Angel Carrasquillo, as the killer. When confronted, Carrasquillo confessed he is the one who shot Cruz. Carrasquillo signed an affidavit for Hagen and admitted to the killing in an interview with News 8 in a story that aired in September.
 
Carrasquillo is serving a sentence of life without parole for a 2002 murder and robbery.
 
Prosecutors are expected to argue Torres and Carrasquillo, both inmates at Attica Correctional Facility, are part of a conspiracy. They are likely to say Carrasquillo has nothing to lose by confessing. But the two men insist they did not know each other until after Hagen secured Carrasquillo’s confession. Hagen may be called to testify, so Torres’ motion to vacate his conviction is being handled by a different attorney.
 
Torres said he was elated and surprised when he heard about Carrasquillo’s confession.
 
“I was shocked, just shocked. I thought I was going to the rest of my life behind these bars for something I didn’t do,” Torres said. “It just shows me he’s a real man. A real man does something like that.” 
 
Other witnesses will be called to back up Carrasquillo’s confession. The defense is also expected to call an expert witness who will say Carrasquillo actually does have something to lose by confessing.
 
If Hon. Francis Affronti finds the outcome of Torres’ trial would have been different with the new evidence, he will set aside the 2002 murder conviction. The district attorney would then have to decide whether to try Torres again or charge Carrasquillo.