By Gabrielle Burkhart
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thursday, the city got its turn to convince a judge that the Albuquerque Police killing of a mentally ill man in his own backyard, was not a bad shoot.
Christopher Torres’ parents also gave an emotional testimony about their son, and the day he was killed.
“He loved his family, he loved his friends, Christopher was just a very caring human being,” said Renetta Torres, Christopher’s Mom.
Christopher’s mom, Renetta, and dad, Steven, painted a picture of their son, and recalled the day in 2011 when he was shot and killed by an APD officer in their backyard.
In plain clothes, CJ Brown and Richard Hilger hopped a fence to arrest Torres for a prior road rage case.
Brown shot Torres three times in his back during a struggle, after APD claims Torres grabbed Hilger’s gun.
“Christopher’s death devastated all of us,” said an emotional Steve Torres.
In the wrongful death lawsuit against APD, the city argued Torres, who’s schizophrenic, was unstable and brought in a toxicology expert who testified about Torres’ use of spice.
Doctor Don Fisher, a city witness, testified the drug spice was found in Torres’ system.
“JWH 122 is a compound that’s 60 times more potent than marijuana, the parent compound in marijuana,” said Dr. Fisher. He also testified one of Torres’ prescribed anti-psychotic meds didn’t show up in Torres’ system.
But the judge said the city’s ability to use Fisher’s testimony with respect to spice and it’s relation to violence and aggression, is a stretch – and the defense couldn’t directly prove that spice contributed to Torres’ behavioral issues.
The city’s second witness, a forensic scientist, testified Torres’ DNA was on Hilger’s gun.
“Is the DNA evidence of Christopher Torres on detective Hilger’s gun’s grip consistent with Christopher Torres actually holding the grip of the gun?” asked an attorney for the city.
“That’s possible, yes,” responded DNA expert Donna Manogue.
However, when questioned by the Torres family’s attorney, the DNA expert agreed she can’t be sure if the DNA on Hilger’s gun was from Torres’ hands.
Those were the only witnesses the city called. Closing arguments are set for Friday afternoon.
There is no jury in this case. The judge will decide if the shooting was justified, and if not, what the city will pay in damages.