ROYAL CITY - After pleading guilty to lesser charges on Tuesday, a Royal City man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatally shooting his father in 2018.
Jonathan Torres, 22, pleaded guilty Tuesday via teleconference video in Grant County Superior Court to first-degree manslaughter, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and first-degree attempted unlawful possession of a firearm. Torres was initially facing charges of first-degree, with an alternative of second-degree, murder but the charges were amended as part of a plea agreement.
Judge David Estudillo agreed with a joint-recommendation and sentenced Torres to 240 months behind bars, which includes a mandatory five-year firearm enhancement.
The plea agreement comes after medical experts from both the state and Torres’ defense found Torres suffered from methamphetamine-induced psychosis at the time of the shooting. The defense expert also concluded the psychosis affected Torres’ mental state at the time and he could not have premeditated the act, and lacked the criminal intent to commit the act -- elements included in the initial murder charges. The two experts also indicated Torres believed his father was a clone, not his actual father.
Grant County Prosecutor Garth Dano told the court Tuesday if the state’s expert would have given an opinion that supported premeditation, the plea deal would not have been offered. Dano added Torres’ family did not oppose the plea agreement and prison sentence.
Torres spoke briefly during sentencing, apologizing to his family.
“This haunts me day in and day out,” he said. “I never meant for any of this to happen. I’m working on becoming a better person than I was before.”
Early in the morning on Nov. 28, 2018, law enforcement was contacted by Torres’ sister, who said her father, 58-year-old Jesus Torres Flores, had been shot in the head by her brother, according to police reports.
The sister told investigators she had received an earlier phone call from her mother, who told her something happened between Torres Flores and his son. The sister went to their home on Juniper Circle in Royal City and arrived to find her father dead in an SUV parked in the driveway.
Jonathan Torres’ mother told investigators she and her husband drove Torres to the Othello Community Hospital because he was feeling ill and “felt like he was going to die,” court records state. The three left the hospital before midnight on Nov. 27, with the mother driving, Torres Flores in the front passenger seat and Jonathan Torres in the back seat.
“As they were driving on the highway near Mardon, WA, Jesus Torres Flores was talking about Christ when (Torres’ mother) suddenly heard a gunshot next to the right side of her head,” investigators wrote in the police report. “(The mother) was sure that Jonathan Torres was the one to fire the gunshot because he was the only other person in the vehicle.”
The mother continued to drive to the Juniper Circle home and told investigators she did not have any discussion with her son about what happened, according to court records.
After the sister called 911, police located Jonathan Torres on nearby Camelia Street in Royal City. A deputy used a Taser on Torres during the arrest as Torres fought with police. Torres also grabbed ahold of a deputy’s rifle during the fight.
Jesus Torres Flores was found with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Investigators say there was not an exit wound, and no glass was broken on the SUV.