- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

READING, Pa. (AP) - A man was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday in the shooting death of his estranged wife in a parking lot almost a decade ago.

Jurors in Berks County began deliberations Monday and announced their verdict Tuesday morning in the case of 43-year-old Miguel Torres.

Torres was also convicted of aggravated assault, possessing instruments of crime and reckless endangerment in the September 2005 death of 32-year-old Barbara West-Torres, who was ambushed in a Reading parking lot.

Torres took the stand Friday to proclaim his innocence and point the finger at another person, saying he fled to the Dominican Republic and later Italy after the slaying because he was afraid of retaliation. During his seven years on the run, he was placed on the U.S. marshal’s most-wanted list and his case was featured on the TV program “America’s Most Wanted.”

Torres was arrested in March 2013 in Italy and extradited after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. With the first-degree murder conviction, he now faces a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole.

District Attorney John Adams said prosecutors were pleased by the verdict, which he called “a long time coming.”

Cathy Lebron, mother of the victim, said during a news conference that “This is the decision we waited for.”

“Barbie got justice,” she said. “We can have closure. She can rest in peace, and now we can let her rest in peace.”

Defense attorney Robert Kirwan said he was disappointed by the verdict and an appeal was planned.

Jurors were selected from York County because of extensive publicity about the case. They were brought in by bus daily for the proceedings until beginning deliberations, after which they spent the night in a hotel before announcing their verdict.



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