Teen’s appeal of murder conviction denied

Posted at 7:56 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 19:58:48-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A teen’s request to repeal a second-degree murder conviction has been denied by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Alex Torrez was sentenced to 28-60 years in prison in January for the deaths of his cousin David Torrez and Calvin College student Tara Oskam. Torrez was the driver in a high-speed chase that ended in a crash in Kentwood.

His appeal claims he was convicted on insufficient evidence because prosecutors didn’t prove he intentionally tried to kill them.

However, judges ruled that prosecutors didn’t have to prove malice to convict Torrez of second-degree murder, only that his actions were in disregard of life-endangering circumstances.

The court of appeals says evidence shows both victims’ deaths were caused by the crash, Torrez was driving at an excessive speed and didn’t have a lawful reason for causing their deaths.

Evidence provided in court showed Torrez was driving over 100 mph and didn’t apply his brakes before the crash. Toxicologists also found THC, Valium and alcohol in his system.