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Torrez-govtconsolidatedmotions-052212

Torrez-govtconsolidatedmotions-052212

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Published by Emily Babay

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Published by: Emily Babay on May 29, 2012
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THEEASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIAAlexandria DivisionUNITED STATES OF AMERICAv.JORGE AVILA TORREZ))))) No. 1:11cr115 (LO)Hearing: June 1, 2012
CONSOLIDATED RESPONSE OF THE UNITED STATESTO DEFENDANT’S MOTIONS
The United States, through the undersigned counsel, hereby responds to the followingmotions: (1)
 Motion to Trifurcate Jury Deliberations
(Docket 68); (2)
 Defendant’s Motion for  Individual Sequestered Voir Dire by Counsel 
(Docket 69);
 Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the“Special Findings” from the Indictment, and to Strike the Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty because of the Arbitrary, Capricious, and Random Application of the Federal Death Penalty Act 
(Docket 70); (3)
 Defendant’s Motion to Strike Statutory Aggravating Factors Relating to “Previous Convictions”
(Docket 71); and (4)
 Motion to Strike Nonstatutory Aggravators from Government’s Notice of Intent to Seek a Sentence of Death
(Docket 72).
1
The United States requests leave to file this consolidated response of greater than thirty pages, the page-limit
1
imposed on responses to motions by Local Criminal Rule 47(F)(3). No individual response in this consolidated pleadingexceeds thirty pages.
Case 1:11-cr-00115-LO Document 76 Filed 05/22/12 Page 1 of 68 PageID# 358
 
I.BACKGROUNDA.Procedural History
The defendant, Jorge Avila Torrez, was charged with the first degree murder of AmandaJean Snell, in violation of title 18, United States Code, Sections 7 and 1111, in a single-countindictment returned on May 26, 2011 (Docket 1). The indictment also contains a Notice of Special Findings alleging that Torrez was 18 years or older at the time of the offense; all four of the “intent” or “gateway factors” set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3591(a)(2); and two statutoryaggravating factors for homicide as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3592(c), namely, one state felonyconviction involving the use or threatened use of a firearm (18 U.S.C. § 3592(c)(2)), and two or more state felony convictions involving the infliction of, or attempted infliction of, serious bodilyinjury or death (18 U.S.C. §§ 3592(c)(4)). Torrez was arraigned on June 17, 2011 (Docket 8).On February 29, 2012, the government filed a Notice of Intent to Seek a Sentence of Death(Docket 41). In addition to alleging the four intent factors and the two statutory aggravatingfactors contained in the indictment, the notice also alleges a number of nonstatutory aggravatingfactors under 18 U.S.C. § 3592(c)(2). Jury selection is scheduled to begin on January 28, 2013,and the presentation of evidence is scheduled to begin on or about February 13, 2013 (Docket 56,58).
B.Facts1.The 2009 Murder of Amanda Jean Snell
The indictment arises from the killing of Amanda Jean Snell on or about July 11, 2009.Ms. Snell was a 20 year old Navy petty officer 2 class assigned to the staff of the Chief of 
nd
 Naval Operations at the Pentagon. She resided in the enlisted barracks at Joint Base Myer -- 2 -
Case 1:11-cr-00115-LO Document 76 Filed 05/22/12 Page 2 of 68 PageID# 359
 
Henderson Hall, in Arlington, Virginia. Last seen alive in the barracks around 1:00 a.m. onSaturday morning, July 11, 2009, her body was discovered at 6:30 a.m., Monday morning, July13, 2009, after she failed to show up for duty, wedged inside a closed wall locker in her roomwith a pillow case wrapped loosely around her head. At the time Ms. Snell was murdered,Torrez was a Marine Corps corporal, assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps and living in the barracks on the same tier as Ms. Snell’s, seven doors from her room. Torrez killed Ms. Snell bystrangling her. The government will prove that Torrez murdered Ms. Snell through his ownadmissions, which are recorded, physical evidence (including DNA from the defendant’s semenfound in the victim’s room), and other evidence.
2.The 2010 Abductions, Sexual Assaults and Attempted Murder
The two statutory aggravating factors and a number of the non-statutory aggravatingfactors stem from a series of criminal acts committed by Torrez in February of 2010. Torrez wasconvicted of some of this conduct in Arlington County, Virginia. In one incident, Torrez, armedwith a handgun and knife, attempted to force a woman into his vehicle. She broke free andescaped. In a second incident, Torrez abducted two women at gunpoint, forcing them into ahouse, where he bound both of them. He then forced one of these women into his vehicle.Torrez thereafter raped, sodomized and strangled her. Thinking she was dead, he left her body inthe woods in Prince William County. Miraculously, she survived. On October 15, 2010, Torrezwas convicted at trial in the Circuit Court for Arlington, Virginia, of one count each of armed burglary and rape, two counts of robbery, three counts of abduction with intent to defile, threecounts of forcible sodomy, and four counts of using a firearm in the commission of thosefelonies. On December 14, 2010, he was sentenced to five life terms and 168 years in prison.- 3 -
Case 1:11-cr-00115-LO Document 76 Filed 05/22/12 Page 3 of 68 PageID# 360

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