The indictment against Mark Torre Jr. in the case involving the shooting death of fellow police officer Elbert Piolo will not need to go before a grand jury as the court has sided with the prosecution in allowing for a revision of the indictment.
Aggravated assault as a third-degree felony with the special allegation will not be the only charges Mark Torre Jr. will face at a second trial. His attorney, Jay Arriola, had argued in a September court hearing that changing the indictment to add negligent homicide would require presenting the charge to a grand jury.
But Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo disagreed, siding with the prosecution which contended that the proposed indictment does not allege any new or different offenses, it simply modifies the degree of the charged offense in the initial indictment, reducing the charges of manslaughter to negligent homicide with the special allegation as a lesser included.
Bordallo further agreed with the AG’s argument that Torre’s rights will not be prejudiced by this change. The AG cited that a reduction of the charges and change to a lesser included do not substantially change the ability of the defense to offer evidence or prejudice the defendant. It was also pointed out that the Supreme Court did not dismiss the case but instead vacated and remanded it back to the trial court.
In the first trial, Torre was found guilty of negligent homicide and third-degree aggravated assault, both with a special allegation of possession or use of a deadly weapon. He was acquitted of murder, manslaughter, and second-degree aggravated assault. Winning his appeal to the Supreme Court, the convictions were overturned and the case was returned to the trial court.