Teen to be charged with murder attempt
A 17-year-old accused of shooting a man in Fargo's Lindenwood Park will be tried as an adult for attempted murder. Geraldo N. Torres had his case moved Monday from Cass County Juvenile Court to Cass County District Court. In North Dakota, juvenil...
A 17-year-old accused of shooting a man in Fargo's Lindenwood Park will be tried as an adult for attempted murder.
Geraldo N. Torres had his case moved Monday from Cass County Juvenile Court to Cass County District Court. In North Dakota, juvenile defendants charged with attempted murder must be handled in adult court, said Jonathan Anderson, the assistant state's attorney handling the case.
The man Torres is accused of shooting, Jose Manuel Alaniz, attended Monday's hearing. He said he and Torres are friends.
"The cops twisted my words around," he said outside court.
The .22-caliber round that hit Alaniz June 6 in his abdomen remains inside him. He recovered from the wound after a few days at MeritCare Hospital, Anderson said.
Once he was out of the intensive care unit, Alaniz told Detective Jim Ledoux that Torres shot him, Ledoux testified Monday.
"Jose basically said that he was shot by Geraldo, but it was an accident and he didn't want to press charges," Ledoux said.
Alaniz wasn't called to testify at the hearing, which was held to prove the state had probable cause in the case.
Defense attorney Douglas Nesheim argued that prosecutors don't have enough evidence to charge his client. He said he has heard several different stories about what happened, and if anything, the shooting was an accident.
Alaniz told police the day he was shot - before he spoke to Ledoux - that he didn't know who shot him, Nesheim said.
Prosecutors decided on the attempted murder charge based on what they saw in the police reports, Anderson said.
One witness, who was at the park with a group that included Torres and Alaniz, told police she saw Torres pull the gun from a pocket and fire it at Alaniz, Ledoux said.
He pulled the trigger after Alaniz told him, "Go ahead, pop it," Ledoux said.
Another man has said he was the intended victim, Nesheim said. But Ledoux said that man only told that to a confidential informant and didn't repeat it to police.
The shooting happened in the early evening, before 8 p.m., when other people were at the park, Anderson said. One woman was nearby with two young children, he said.
The gun has not been found.
Prosecutors plan to file an attempted murder charge this week, Anderson said.
Torres has been in custody since his arrest July 14 when undercover officers found him in a parked car in north Fargo. Police had been looking for him since the shooting.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Forster at (701) 241-5538